235 million social media accounts have been released


The database containing the personal information of 235 million Instagram, YouTube and TikTok users was exposed on the Internet.

This database has no password protection, so anyone can see the user's information such as name, profile picture, age, gender, contact information and number of followers.


Many users publish their personal information on social media. Photo: Unsplash.

Bob Diachenko, research expert at security firm Comparitech (UK), said that up to three copies of this data have been detected online since August 1. The data belongs to Deep Social, but the company is no longer active. When Diachenko contacted Deep Social, the system redirected to Social Data company in Hong Kong.

Social Data admits the database was released, but said they have no relationship with Deep Social. The company also claims to only get information that users make public on the network.

Nowadays, many companies develop tools that automatically collect large amounts of data from websites and social networks. This type of information is often sold to third parties to analyze a user's social media usage habits. However, when it falls into the wrong hands, it can be exploited in spam or phishing scams.

Social media providers often prohibit this collection in order to protect user data. "We are investigating this particular case and may send a decommissioning order to Social Data," a YouTube spokesperson said.

A Facebook spokesperson also confirmed that collecting information from Instagram is a clear violation of company policy, and will send a legal reminder letter to Social Data to prevent data collection in next time.

The above database disclosure happened at the right time when social networks such as TikTok and Facebook were having trouble regarding user protection policies. Last year, Facebook paid a $ 5 billion fine for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In particular, the data of tens of millions of users was collected when participating in an online survey on Facebook. This data was later believed to be used in Donald Trump's US presidential election campaign in 2016.

Last year, security expert Diachenko also discovered a database containing the information of 267 million Facebook users. Leaked information includes the identity (ID), phone number and full name of the Facebook user.



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