instagramlogoInstagram has awarded a security researcher a $6,000 bug bounty payout after he found photos and private direct messages on the platform's servers that he had deleted more than a year ago (via TechCrunch).

Saugat Pokharel discovered that his content hadn't been removed in October after downloading a copy of his data from the photo-sharing app. Instagram introduced the download option two years ago to comply with the European Union's data privacy GDPR regulations.

Instagram said the reason Pokharel's information had never been entirely removed from its servers was down to a bug that it's now fixed.

"The researcher reported an issue where someone's deleted Instagram images and messages would be included in a copy of their information if they used our Download Your Information tool on Instagram," a spokesperson for Instagram told TechCrunch. "We've fixed the issue and have seen no evidence of abuse. We thank the researcher for reporting this issue to us."

The issue is almost identical to one that Twitter fixed last year, in which a security researcher discovered years-old messages in a file from an archive of data from an account that was no longer active.

Although the retrieval of deleted data was bug-related in both cases, it's worth remembering that when you opt to delete content from social media accounts, it can still hang around on company servers for some time.

Twitter says that accounts that are deactivated and deleted are removed along with all of their data after 30 days, while Instagram says it takes about 90 days for deleted data to be fully removed from its systems.

Top Rated Comments

-BigMac- Avatar
50 months ago
Haha another convenient “bug”, not deleting peoples privacy. Isnt this some sort of breach?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
architect1337 Avatar
50 months ago
Very easy to fix.

While (RequestForDownload == TRUE; DO
IF (OBJECT == 'MarkedForDeletion')
THEN ExcludefromDownload==TRUE;
DONE
END;
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
calstanford Avatar
50 months ago
F...ing Facebook is even worse. I deleted all my images from way back when and GUESS WHAT. It shows me images from 10 years ago in their "Remember this" section
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
12643 Avatar
50 months ago
The bug isn’t that they failed to delete the photos; that behavior is intentional. The bug is including the evidence in your data download.

Just read their own words “The researcher reported an issue where someone's deleted Instagram images and messages would be included in a copy of their information if they used our Download Your Information tool on Instagram”
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
martyjmclean Avatar
50 months ago

F...ing Facebook is even worse. I deleted all my images from way back when and GUESS WHAT. It shows me images from 10 years ago in their "Remember this" section
Instagram and Facebook are the same company...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
50 months ago
Yet we are all up in arms over TikTok when it is these American companies that keep getting caught doing scummy things.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Report: These 10 New AI Features Are Coming in iOS 18

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:57 pm PDT by
iOS 18 and macOS 15 will offer an array of new AI features such as auto-generated emojis, suggested replies to emails and messages, and more, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. A significant portion of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to focus on AI features. Writing his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that Apple's AI strategy emphasizes providing...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Firmware

Tuesday May 28, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released new firmware update for both the Lightning and USB-C versions of the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 6F7, up from the 6B34 firmware released in November. Apple does not provide details on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware beyond "bug fixes and other improvements," so it is unclear what's new in the update. Apple does not give...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2

Gurman: iOS 18 Will Allow Users to Recolor App Icons and Place Them Anywhere

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:22 pm PDT by
Apple's iOS 18 update will introduce new features for further customizing the iPhone's home screen, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman claimed that Apple will allow users to change the color of app icons in iOS 18. For example, "you can make all your social icons blue or finance-related ones green." This kind of home screen...
iPad Pro Landscape Apple Logo Feature

Apple Says Future iPads Could Feature Landscape Apple Logo

Monday May 27, 2024 6:31 am PDT by
French website Numerama interviewed three senior Apple employees about the new iPad Pro models that launched earlier this month. While the discussion did not reveal many new details, it did mention one potential change for future iPads. While the Apple logo on the back of iPads is positioned so that it appears upright in vertical orientation, the devices are often used in landscape...