Instagram is facing new criticism after a security researcher discovered images and direct messages he had deleted from his account remained on the company’s servers for more than a year.
TechCrunch brings word from researcher Saugat Pokharel, who made the alarming discovery when he downloaded his data from the service after new 2018 EU data rules came into effect.
“Instagram didn’t delete my data even when I deleted them from my end,” Pokharel said, revealing the images and messages he’d considered long deleted were visible to him. He explains the full saga in a post on Medium.
Related: How to delete your Instagram account
After informing Instagram of his troubling discovery, the company claimed it was a bug and paid the researcher a bug bounty $6,000 for his troubles. The company usually says it takes around three months for the data to be removed from the servers. The issue was reported to Instagram in October last year and the company said it was quickly fixed.
In a statement, the Facebook-owned social network said: “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.”
So remember folks, just because you think you’ve deleted those photos and messages, it doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. But then this is Facebook we’re dealing with here. You probably knew that already.
Facebook isn’t alone though. Twitter was heavily criticised for a similar incident last year when deleted messages remained within the company’s servers long after the user had expunged them from their account.
Is this really just as simple as the social media giants forgetting to empty their recycle bins? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.