Instagram, which investigates how minors process data

The Facebook group falls under a new investigation. This time Instagram is targeted by the Data Protection Commission (DPC), the Irish data protection authority. The organization is particularly concerned about the processing of minors’ personal data on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, according to the BBC.

Damn report as a starting point for the Irish investigation

In 2019, the American data scientist David Stier analyzed the Instagram profiles of 200,000 people as part of a study. He therefore discovered that underage users of the social network could convert their personal accounts into professional accounts, even though they were theoretically reserved for adults. Problem: This type of account requires the contact information (phone number, email address) to be published, which suggests that the private information of millions of minors may be visible to everyone.

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In his report, the data scientist claims to have contacted Facebook to warn him of this “bug”, but Mark Zuckerberg’s group had “specifically stated that the display of these coordinates will be visible to everyone in the application.” He had no intention of doing so change – whether or not the children’s phone numbers and personal email addresses were visible. ” David Stier believes Instagram is aware of this problem but would not be willing to take the necessary steps to fix it.

In this way, the Irish Data Protection Authority decided to open its investigation on Monday 19th October 2020. Graham Doyle, Deputy Commissioner for the DPC, said: “Instagram is a social media platform used by many children in Ireland and across Europe. The DPC has been actively following people’s complaints in this area and has identified potential issues related to the processing of children’s personal data on Instagram that need further investigation. “

Instagram threatens a heavy fine

Through its investigation, the DPC must decide whether the Facebook group has a sufficient legal basis to manage and protect the data of minors on Instagram, while assessing whether the measures and restrictions currently implemented by the social network are sufficient. The organization will rely on the GDPR for this. If a violation is proven, Instagram must pay a fine, which can be up to 4% of its total sales. We remind you that H&M recently had to pay a fine of 35 million euros for violating the GDPR.

Facebook group denies allegations

A Facebook spokesperson contacted by the BBC said David Stier’s allegations were based on a misunderstanding of his systems: “We were always clear about when people set up a business account on Instagram, the contact information they shared was publicly displayed. It is very different from disclosing information from people. “

The social network adds, “Since the days of Mr. Stier’s misqualification in 2019, we’ve also made several updates to professional accounts and people can now choose not to provide their contact details.” Without a doubt, the DPC investigation will shed light on this whole matter.

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