As it prepares to remove the number of likes from the Instagram platform, millions of young Instagram users are transitioning to the business account to better measure the performance of their posts. At this point, let us say that young users inadvertently compromise their privacy.
Because Facebook Inc. owns Instagram'da classified as a business account privacy agreements different from that of personal users. Users who prefer a business account agree that information such as phone numbers or email addresses will be made public in practice.
David Stier, an independent data scientist, says that this jeopardizes the privacy of both business account users and their friends. Stier, who reported this problem to the company, made extensive analysis by experimenting with different sampling techniques on more than 200,000 accounts.
Many parents are unaware that more than 1 billion people have access to their 13-year-old's contact information on Instagram, Stier said.
While many social networks, including Instagram, set a 13-year-old limit to register on the platform, children under the age of 13 can easily overcome this ban. Pressing “Access more tools” in Instagram's settings prompts users whether they are “content producers” or “businesses”. After choosing between these users, they have to give the contact information in the profile.
After switching to a business account, young people have access to more information about the performance of their profiles. Information on which days and times of the week are viewed more, what content is more popular, and how often the profile is viewed by what kind of demographics seems to be more important for young people than privacy for now.
Instagram made the following statements on the subject:
Anyone can turn their accounts into a business profile. We allow this because we want everyone on Instagram to start a business at any time. During the installation process, we remind people that their contact information will be accessible to others, allowing them to update or hide this information.
As a result of his research, Stier realized that there were many young people who switched to business accounts. Some young people introduce themselves in the “non-profit organization” category, while others identify themselves as athletes. When the accounts are examined, it is seen that these young people are not related to a business in any way.
After Stier notified Facebook of the situation, Instagram reduced the visibility of his contact information. However, the company does not think that Stier's findings constitute a security vulnerability and emphasizes that the choice depends entirely on users.
Stier thinks that although the choice belongs to users, Instagram should protect users' privacy. Stier says that a contact form should be provided in business tools for younger users and reminds that this is preferred by many businesses.