Facebook could be up for a gigantic privacy fine after sources claim up to five million children's phone numbers and email addresses leaked from Instagram via a loophole. The Telegraph informed that Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner's (DPC) had already launched two investigations last month for fear of under-18s were put at threat by groomers and hackers.

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Instagram faces another possible charge

The now Facebook-owned app enables users to alter their personal Instagram accounts to business ones, which display how popular their posts and photos are. But, that also creates a loophole for others to exploit. Switching to one meant their contacts became visible to the public.

The image and video sharing platform did no checks to see if the accounts were legit. Most of the accounts were not actually running any businesses. Although Instagram has a minimum age limit of 13, Ofcom reports that more than one in five children between 8 and 12 in the United Kingdom use it.

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Children between 8 and 12 years of age use Instagram very often

David Stier, a US data scientist, discovered the loophole. He estimated as many as five million children had their personal contacts compromised. And now, his complaints finally sparked the investigations.

A deputy commissioner at the DPC, Graham Doyle, reports that the DPC has been actively monitoring complaints from individuals in the area. It has detected potential concerns relating to the processing of children’s private information on Instagram. The matter requires further examination to confirm.

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The DPC is investigating the claims

Mr. Stier is also aware that Instagram and Facebook had enormous resources at their disposal. Yet this incident indicates how woefully low levels of empathy, safety awareness, and care they have for users.

Instagram has since "hot-fixed" the problem. Business accounts now have to opt into revealing their contact details. A Facebook representative also acknowledges the issue. He said they're in close contact with the IDPC to solve the inquiries.

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Facebook is having a rough year

2020 seems not to be a great year for Facebook as the company faces charges of billions of dollars. Previously in July, the world's premier social media site offered $650 million to settle a lawsuit regarding its face-tagging tool. And last month, Facebook and Instagram encountered another lawsuit that involves 100 million users.

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Facebook seems to have everything planned out, except for users' protection

The claims said that Instagram uses face-id without users' consent. Under Illinois law, Facebook will have to pay $1,000 to $5,000 per violation, which means the full charge costs $500 billion if Facebook is found responsible.