Facebook-owned platform Instagram issued a cease and desist letter to an American startup HYP3R, a location-based marketing platform, for secretly storing personal data including ephemeral Stories and tracking physical locations of millions of Instagram users, Business Insider reports.
Report has it, HYP3R has been harvesting a huge amount of data off Instagram in order to create detailed profiles of millions of users focusing on their interests and movements. It has come to limelight more than a year after Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal revealed security lapses at Facebook.
Here's what happened:
After the story broke, Facebook issued a cease and desist letter to HYP3R confirming the violation of Instagram's policies. This is what the Facebook spokesperson had to say in a statement:
"HYP3R's actions were not sanctioned and violate our policies. As a result, we've removed them from our platform. We've also made a product change that should help prevent other companies from scraping public location pages in this way."
In what could result in more trouble to Facebook and Instagram, the Irish Data Protection Commission is now looking into whether EU citizens were affected by this incident of massive data harvesting.
In related news, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is calling in outside contractors to monitor social media for potential threats, setting up a possible conflict with Facebook and other companies over privacy.
It was posted before the most recent mass shootings once again prompted calls for social media companies to do more to detect such threats.
Last month, the FBI said it is soliciting proposals for a social media “early alerting tool” in order to identify possible threats while making sure that privacy and civil liberties considerations are taken into account. Such a tool would likely violate the companies’ ban against using their data for surveillance.
As part of his privacy vision, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's is going merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook in the future. Facebook will have to undergo a massive reform to its underlying infrastructure for seamless cross-platform interactions and end-to-end encryption.
(With inputs from AP)