Ireland agency probes Instagram over handling of children's personal data: Reports

Data scientist David Stier found that when Instagram accounts switched from a personal to a business setting users' email ID, phone numbers became public.

Published: 19th October 2020 11:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2020 11:48 AM   |  A+A-

Instagram, social media

The Instagram group will, in early October 2020, celebrate its ten-year anniversary. (Photo | AFP)


LONDON: Ireland's data protection agency is investigating Instagram following concerns over how the image-sharing social platform handled children's personal data, according to media reports.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) received complaints that the US firm -- owned by Facebook -- had allowed the phone numbers and email addresses of under 18 year olds to remain public, British newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.

Following the complaints the DPC, the European Union's main data privacy regulator, reportedly launched two separate inquiries last month.

Neither Facebook nor the DPC immediately responded to AFP's request for comment.

Data scientist David Stier found that when Instagram accounts switched from a personal to a business setting users' email addresses and phone numbers became public, the Telegraph reported.

Business profiles allow users to see how many people are viewing their profiles and images.

Anyone can set up such an account, with the social platform currently not requiring proof the person is actually running a company.

Until recently Instagram also required all business users to publicly list a phone number or email address.

Instagram's minimum age for an account is 13.

According to media reports, the DPC investigations will firstly examine whether the app has the necessary safeguards to securely process users' data, particularly in regard to child users.

The DPC will also look at whether Instagram is following the Irish regulator's data protection rules over its profile and account settings.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp