There are a lot of applications out that which let users sign in using their Facebook account. However, Instagram is one application which ‘assumes’ that individuals have the same e-mail account for both services. This has ultimately led to a rather inconvenient situation.
A man reportedly found out that he was able to sign in and access a Instagram account belonging to a high school girl. He had created his account back in 2010 when the application launched, but has never used it since. A few weeks ago, some of his friends encouraged him to start using in. He then downloaded the application, but couldn’t remember his login credentials.
Given that he never used the account, he then decided to use Instagram’s ‘Register with Facebook’ method of signing up in hope of creating a new account. This is when he was greeted with over 100 photos and over 500 followers on his ‘newly create account’. This is when he realised that he assessed another user’s account, more specifically a high school girl’s account given the uploaded pictures on it, giving him access to all her photos, messages and friends list.
Instagram stated that the issue was caused by the e-mail address, having both the high school girls and man sharing initials. The social media application does not require users to verify their e-mail address when they sign up, therefore the girl did not even realise she was using a wrong e-mail address.
The company have acknowledged that this issue at hand is ‘rare’, but did not emphasise the number of occasions users found themselves in another individual’s account. The application ‘assumes’ that whoever owns the given Facebook account must own the Instagram account registered with the same e-mail address, therefore grants the user access without confirmation or some other sort of verification procedure.
Social media application nowadays offer e-mail verification security checks, avoiding such privacy issues. Twitter is one of them, requiring users to verify their e-mail address before granting them access to the account created. Facebook, Google and Microsoft also offer two-step authentication to ensure that not even passwords lead to unexpected intrusions. Instagram however just encourages users to verify their e-mail address, having it be an optional step, to help users connect faster. This incident also proved that the current method used is not safe and could lead to privacy violations.
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