Millions of Instagramers’ Private User Info Made Public by Data Scraper


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.

Image by USA-Reiseblogger

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.


About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

With each passing month, the Internet is becoming more and more like our modern version of the lawless wild west.

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