Facebook's Instagram database of almost 50 million users found stored on an unguarded database online.
The database was tracked to a company called Chtrbox in Mumbai and, according to TechCrunch, is said to include personal information such as email and phone numbers of high profile users known as "influencers", as well as the location of users, their bio, profile pic and how many followers they have.
In a communication seen by the BBC, Instagram owners, Facebook, said they were trying to find out where the data had come from. It's statement read, "We're looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources. We're also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available."
TechCrunch said they were alerted to the unprotected information by a researcher named Anurag Sen, who found it on an Amazon server and contacted them "in an effort to find the owner and get the database secured". Since it's discovery, the database has been taken offline.
According to TechCrunch, Chtrbox is a marketing company that pays influencers to post sponsored content, saying, "Each record in the database contained a record that calculated the worth of each account, based off the number of followers, engagement, reach, likes and shares they had. This was used as a metric to determine how much the company could pay an Instagram celebrity or influencer to post an ad."
Instagram's policies state that it is a violation to gather – or scrape – information from their user's accounts.