Instagram pays child $10,000 for uncovering flaw

4 May 2016

The latest recipient of Instagram’s ‘bug bounty’ policy of rewarding coders who find flaws in its service is the youngest yet, with thousands of dollars set to buy him a football and a bike.

Stop whatever you’re doing, it’s not worth the money. Instead you should start hacking into Instagram to find flaws in its system. The prize? $10,000, as won by a young Finn who recently found a way to delete users’ comments.

Find a problem, prove it, flag it and rake in the Facebook-owned Instagram’s bug bounty. If it sounds too technologically advanced for you, then how about finding out the Finnish winner of the money was a 10-year-old boy.

The bug discovered was a small one, and didn’t allow for bulk deletion, however, it was serious enough for the company to pay off the pre-teen back in March, part of the now $4.3m it has given out to more than 800 people.

And yes, this makes Jani the youngest hacker rewarded by the company to date. By way of comparison, Mark Zuckerberg started coding at 11. There’s something wonderful about him paying out to someone even younger.

Finland newspaper Iltalehti reported the story, explaining Jani and his twin brother have been looking at coding for two years now.

Jani tested how Instagram could handle harmful code. “Turns out it can’t,” he said. So Jani could personally delete comments at will. “I would have been able to eliminate anyone, even Justin Bieber,” he said.

Facebook told Forbes that Jani verified his report by deleting a comment the company posted on a test account. It subsequently paid out, with the 10-year-old planning to buy a football and a bike with the money.

Instagram image via 10 Face/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic