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Instagram to Pay Researchers to Uncover Abuse of Personal Data by Third-Party Apps


Facebook has announced expansion plans for its bug bounty program to include abuse of user’s data by third-party apps on Instagram. Typically, Instagram’s bug bounty program like Facebook’s main app involves unraveling of flaws that could be exploited by hackers to steal information.

The Data Abuse Bounty aims at solving the primary issue that affects social media apps: scraping of data by third-party applications, which was the root of Facebook’s recently settled Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“Our goal is to help protect the information people share on Instagram and encourage security researchers to report potential abuse to us so we can quickly take action,” Instagram security engineering manager Dan Gurfinkel stated in a blog post.

Facebook already rolled out a similar program for its main app last April after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal where a third-party app developer collected millions of user’s data. 

Although the company has not mentioned the amount of cash it will be compensating the researchers, it says it will depend on the impact and the quality of reports.

The company is also seeking other ways to utilize available expertise of researchers that continuously submit quality reports to try out new upcoming features before they are made publicly available.

Instagram is also seeking researchers to try out its Checkout program, which allows users to buy goods without leaving the app. Currently, the program is available in the US on an invite-only basis. 

Recently, Facebook has also rolled out a way for users to report misinformation on Instagram, which is expected to be available internationally in the next few weeks.

About author

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Covers gadgets, cybersecurity, and social media. Talk to me via email alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me
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