After all the scandals around third-party companies use of data obtained from Facebook, now there’s a controversy brewing around Instagram too. It concerns a US marketing company called Hyp3r, which was an official ‘Facebook Marketing Partner’ right up until yesterday, when the status was removed following an investigation published by Business Insider.
The report claimed that Hyp3r was able to “misappropriate vast amounts of public user data and create detailed records of users’ physical whereabouts, personal bios, and photos that were intended to vanish after 24 hours” (i.e. stories) by scraping data from Instagram.
“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,” said Instagram in a statement.
The response from the marketing firm: “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 do not view any content or information that cannot be accessed publicly by everyone online.”
The message here for music companies: just because you can collect data from people on your own or other platforms, doesn’t necessarily mean you should – nor does the fact that you’re able to necessarily mean you won’t get in hot water for doing it later.