Economy

Instagram removes ad company after 'data grab'

Instagram removes ad company after 'data grab'

For example, if you went to a baseball game and there was a company out there that wanted to market to baseball fans, Hyp3r would scrape your location data through your Instagram or Facebook posts and then create targeted ads for you. So all those Insta stories you thought would vanish after 24 hours were scraped and saved by HYP3R, who also kept track of your daily movements. The company publicly praised Instagram's decision to protect its users' privacy, releasing a statement that said Hyp3r, "understand [s] and welcome [s] the changes that Facebook is making to protect the privacy of all of us", but according to Business Insider's sources, the marketing firm immediately got to work bypassing these restrictions behind the scenes. Access to data from the Stories feature is not available through Instagram's API.

Hyp3r CEO Carlos Garcia argued in an emailed statement to Business Insider, however, that its actions were not in violation of Instagram's rules.

It concerns a U.S. 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. Sata scraping is widespread, and it is likely that many other outside firms were similarly taking advantage of Instagram's lax efforts to safeguard user data.

Hyp3r is "an award-winning location-based marketing platform" based out of San Francisco.

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Although Instagram previously allowed the sort of location data collection done by Hyp3r, the social media company's policies changed following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

What HYP3R primarily did was to save users' Stories at specific locations such as hotels, and gyms. The Hyp3r and their advisors contact the Facebook staff for scheduling meetings with the social network.

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". While Instagram has banned the HYP3R agency from its platform, it could not save the data collected by them over the past year. "We are working to establish whether European Union data subjects have been affected in the first instance and will then assess whether further information from Instagram is required". The company reportedly states that Hyp3r has always provided authentic marketing services that complies with privacy regulations of the customers and the terms of service of social networking platforms. In fact, the company's CEO Carlos Garcia denied breaking Instagram's rules and said it does not view "any content or information that can not be accessed publicly by everyone online".