Hyp3r, a startup company from San Francisco, has reportedly been pulling data from the app and website from its users.
According to the non-profit group Public Knowledge, Hyp3r collected public records of Instagram users' geolocation, personal bios, followers, metadata and photos - all without users' consent. The Hyp3r company can collect all information from the user profiles, locations, and posts.
However, it seems like the company managed to see a resurgence and this might just be because of the fact that the measures taken by Instagram and Facebook to prevent location scraping were not good enough to actually prevent companies from doing so as can be seen in the case of Hyp3r. Therefore, the marketing startup was banned from the platform.
The firm has not yet revealed exactly how many users were affected, and says it is still investigating the volume of the issue. Among other things, it disabled location tracking tools.
But after the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal from 2018, Instagram began disabling some parts of its API.More news: Hackers Can Manipulate Your WhatsApp Messages With This Security Flaw
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What's more: HYP3R was featured on Facebook's rather exclusive list of Facebook Marketing Partners, which is a directory of supposedly vetted companies that "can give you superior insights and data for better marketing decisions".
'As a result, we've removed them from our platform.
The location-based platform, HYP3R says it didn't violate any rules arguing that accessing public data on Instagram is justifiable.
Hyp3r has denied wrongdoing, and CEO Carlos Garcia previously said in a statement: "HYP3R is, and has always been, a company that enables authentic, delightful marketing that is compliant with consumer privacy regulations and social network Terms of Services".
"We've also made a product change that should help prevent other companies from scraping public location pages in this way". "We do not view any content or information that can not be accessed publicly by everyone online". In order to secure that info, it appears the company was hoovering up Instagram user data, in violation of Instagram's rules. The Hyp3r and their advisors contact the Facebook staff for scheduling meetings with the social network.