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Instagram Removes Ad Partner Hyp3r

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Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing social networking app, reportedly removed marketing startup Hyp3r from its platform alleging improper collection and storing of data on millions of users.

Business Insider reported that Hyp3r, Instagram's advertising partner, secretly collected huge quantities of data related to Instagram users and also tracked their physical locations.

In addition, Hyp3r is believed to have collected data from Instagram Stories, content that are intended to disappear after 24 hours and are not available through Instagram's Application Programming Interface or API.

According to the report, Hyp3r took advantage of an Instagram security lapse to collect huge quantities of data, including user posts and profile information, in clear violation of Instagram's rules.

Hyp3r says on its website that it is a location-based marketing platform that unlocks the power of geosocial data and enables marketers to analyse consumer and competitive behavior on-location. The company is said to have denied breaking Instagram's rules.

In response to the Business Insider report, Instagram sent a cease and desist letter to Hyp3r.

An Instagram spokesperson was quoted as saying the company has removed Hyp3r from its platform for violating its policies. Instagram also made a product change to help prevent other companies from scraping public location pages similarly.

In a similar incident, in 2018, Facebook had come under heavy criticism following revelations that data relating to 87 million people were accessed by Cambridge Analytica, which was linked to U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign, without their permission.

In July this year, Facebook reached a record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the scandal.

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