A database containing the phone numbers and email addresses of a number of Instagram influencers and celebrities was found online, according to a report from TechCrunch.
The database did not have a password and was viewable by anyone. At one point, the database had more than 49 million records and was increasing each hour.
Each record contained the profile picture, bio, follower count, and location of an influencer; the record also contained the account owner’s email address and phone number.
Anurag Sen, a security researcher, alerted TechCrunch about the database. TechCrunch traced the database to a social media marketing firm in Mumbai, India called Chtrbox. The firm pays influencers to post sponsored photos.
The records calculated the worth of each influencer based on their reach and followers, in order to see how much Chtrbox could pay them to post an ad.
Among the database were many high-profile influencers and celebrities, according to TechCrunch.
TechCrunch was able to confirm with two influencers that the email addresses and phone numbers in the database did, in fact, belong to them. The two accounts did not have any relation to Chtrbox.
The database was pulled shortly after.
“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,” Facebook told BBC.
This is not the first time Instagram has faced a privacy breach. Two years ago, a bug allowed hackers to obtain the phone numbers and email addresses of many accounts. The information was then sold for bitcoin.