Facebook is expanding its data abuse bug bounty to Instagram.
The social media giant, which owns Instagram, first rolled out its data abuse bounty in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw tens of millions of Facebook profiles scraped to help swing undecided voters in favor of the Trump campaign during the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
The idea was that security researchers and platform users alike could report instances of third-party apps or companies that were scraping, collecting and selling Facebook data for other purposes, such as to create voter profiles or build vast marketing lists.
Even following the high-profile public relations disaster of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook still had apps illicitly collecting data on its users.
Instagram wasn’t immune either. Just this month Instagram booted a “trusted” marketing partner off its platform after it was caught scraping millions of users’ stories, locations and other data points on millions of users, forcing Instagram to make product changes to prevent future scraping efforts. That came after two other incidents earlier this year where a security researcher found 14 million scraped Instagram profiles sitting on an exposed database — without a password — for anyone to access. Another incident saw another company platform scrape the profile data — including email addresses and phone numbers — of Instagram influencers.
Last year Instagram also choked developers’ access as the company tried to rebuild its privacy image in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Dan Gurfinkel, security engineering manager at Instagram, said its new and expanded data abuse bug bounty aims to “encourage” security researchers to report potential abuse.
Instagram said it’s also inviting a select group of trusted security researchers to find flaws in its Checkout service ahead of its international rollout, who also will be eligible for bounty payouts.