The Facebook-owned company has launched a Data Abuse Bounty program this week. The company invited researchers to report those Instagram apps that are involved in abusing user data. The announcement is a result of a Business Insider’s research that revealed a major data abuse scandal.
According to the reports, a marketing company named Hyp3r was secretly collecting the personal data, stories, and locations of millions of Instagram users. The startup abused a security flaw to harvest the data. Needless to say, Instagram was unable to detect all those illegal actions of Hyp3r.
This was an alarming situation and this discovery forced the company to warn its marketing partners against such actions in the future. It is worth mentioning that Facebook has been following strict policies to deal with the misuse of data. Thousands of developers have been previously involved in misusing its features and platform.
A recent case was highlighted a few weeks back when two Android developers were sued by the social media platform. Both of them were involved in an advertisement fraud on Facebook.
Instagram’s Checkout feature Bug Bounty Program
Instagram has also started to invite some security researchers to test the new Checkout feature. The popular social networking service wants to make sure that the functionality works well before making it publically available to all users.
This functionality is already available for US-based Instagram users since March this year. It helps them to purchase the products right from their Instagram app. The new feature eliminates the need to visit the retailer’s website for shopping. However, only a limited set of brands are supported at the moment such as Nike, H&M, and Zara.
Notably, all the payments are processed specifically via PayPal. In this case, the services might not be usable for countries where PayPal service is blocked. Many people are concerned about the security of their sensitive information. According to Instagram, the payment information is not shared with the retailers.
Both of these programs have their own significance in terms of security. It remains to be seen how many Instagram apps are currently involved in data harvesting activities. It is pretty much possible that many more apps are going to join the list as a result of Instagram’s Data Abuse Bounty Program.