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EU Investigate Instagram For Allegedly Exposing Underage User Contact Data


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The EU is leading two active investigations into whether Instagram illegally exposed the personal details of millions of underage users, the Telegraph reported Monday.

The investigations are being carried out by Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC), the official data regulator for Instagram's parent company Facebook in Europe. Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin.

The DPC launched the investigations last month after it received a complaint from US data scientist David Stier. Stier told the Telegraph he believes as many as 5 million users under the age of 18 had their personal contact details exposed.

Stier wrote in a Medium post in 2019 that he had found an Instagram loophole that allowed the personal data of underage users to be publicly exposed.

The loophole is linked to how Instagram allows users to switch between a regular account and a "business" account. To change over to having a business account, Instagram users must add either a phone number or an email address, which was then publicly accessible.

Instagram has since changed this process so business account holders have to opt-in to having their contact details publicly displayed.


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