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Instagram was storing your deleted messages and images on its server for as long as a year

Should we really be surprised?

instagram logo on blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

When you delete something on social media, you expect the data to be removed from the company’s servers, as well. This is understandable.

Well, as it turns out, Instagram wasn’t doing a very good job of that. This information came to light from security researcher Saugat Pokharel, in a recent report by TechCrunch. Typically, data remains on servers for up to 90 days before it is scrubbed, but after Pokharel requested data from his Instagram account, he found pictures and messages that were deleted and over a year old.

The issue was discovered back in October of 2019 and was fixed earlier this month. Pokharel submitted the issue as part of Instagram’s bug bounty program and received $6,000 for his findings. Instagram states the issue was a bug with the system. It’s also not entirely clear if all users were affected by the bug or just a small subset of users.

In a statement to TechCrunch, an Instagram spokesperson notes, “The researcher reported an issue where someone’s deleted Instagram images and messages would be included in a copy of their information if they used our Download Your Information tool on Instagram. We’ve fixed the issue and have seen no evidence of abuse. We thank the researcher for reporting this issue to us.”

The Download Your Information tool on Instagram does exactly what you think it does – allows you to download your data, pictures, and messages from the social platform. It’s a convenient tool and hopefully, just a bit more secure now.

What do you think? Surprised that a “bug” like this existed? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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