Instagram Ad Partner Caught Tracking Users, Gets Exiled from Service

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Facebook is pretty keen to stay out of the headlines for privacy violations, and you can imagine Instagram is even more so since it has largely escaped scrutiny.

Peter Cors from Pexels.

That’s what makes one major ad partner’s behavior on the platform pretty cheeky at best but actually awful in many ways. Following a major report by Business Insider, major Instagram ad partner Hyp3r was exposed for saving users’ private information such as locations, publically available data, and even taking their public stories.

The company is pretty big in the location-based ad game with bespoke options for advertisers trying to drive business locally. Based out of San Francisco, PetaPixel reports that the company recently raised as much as $USD 23 million and was, prior to the scandal, a “Trusted Facebook Marketing Partner.”

Things started going sideways for the company when Facebook stopped sharing location data through its API because of the Cambridge Analytica debacle. Hyp3r was immediately thrown into action coming up with a way to get this information in other ways while taking the public stance of praising Facebook’s actions “to protect the privacy of all of us.”

Privacy that it seems Hyp3r was happy to violate in its own way. It did this by accessing location data through a security loophole in Instagram in addition to scraping user info and saving their public stories.

The company said of the Business Insider report, “HYP3R’s actions were not sanctioned and violate our policies…As a result, we’ve removed them from our platform.”

In its defense, Hyp3r is citing Instagram’s somewhat loose security measures on its platform but that is somewhat like blaming the bank for leaving the front door unlocked – negligence or not, robbery is still illegal.

You can read the really interesting report over on Business Insider by clicking here.

What do you think? Should Hyp3r have known better or should Instagram have had better security? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, there are some other photography news articles on Light Stalking you might like. You can check those out by clicking here.

[PetaPixel, Business Insider]

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