Instagram privacy breach sees millions of influencer contact data shared online

Instagram privacy breach sees millions of influencer contact data shared online

Private data belonging to millions of Instagram influencer accounts has been found in an online database.

The database was available online and was open to anyone. According to Techcrunch who broke the story, the database gave viewers access to over 49 million records.

Several high-profile influencers were spotted in the database, including celebrities and popular food bloggers.

At a glance, the information seemed to reveal an account's bio, profile picture, follower count and location, as well as their verification. It also contained personal information tied to that account including phone numbers and email addresses. 

Security breach

The database was discovered by security researcher Anurag Sen, who contacted Techcrunch with their findings. Techcrunch was able to trace activity back to Chtrbox - an Indian influencer marketing firm. Chtrbox appeared to have used this data to calculate the 'worth' of each influencer. 

“We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources,” Instagram parent company Facebook said a statement to Techcrunch.

“We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available."

Chtrbox founder Pranay Swarup has not yet responded to questions regarding the database.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.