Tech sleuth Anurag Sen discovered a database of Instagram influencers, celebs, and brands that included user information that was both public and private in nature.
When Sen discovered the database it was at 49 million entries and growing by the minute.
Hosted by Amazon Web Services, the database did not have any kind of security on it to keep prying eyes from scanning through its data.
After getting in touch with TechCrunch, the publication traced the owner of the database back to a social media marketing firm called Chtrbox.
To verify the information, TechCrunch also contacted a few of the accounts in the database and the users that responded verified the publication’s findings.
Things get a little weird though when the website tried to contact Chtrbox’s CEO and founder, Pranay Swarup.
TechCrunch also attempted to elicit some kind of statement from Pranay Swarup as well as ask him a few questions about how his company was able to scrape such data. As of press Chtrbox has not responded.
Nonetheless, the database was made private shortly after TechCrunch contacted him.
Part of the database also included a calculation about how the company should pay each account for a sponsored post.
Chtrbox’s actions come after reports of data scraping via a bug in the developer API of Instagram that exposed pretty much the same kind of data on six million Instagrammers.
Facebook for their part issued the following statement: “We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources…We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available.”
As always, we’d love to know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.