900 million Whisper users have posts exposed in public database

Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows its users to share their ideas and fantasies with each other.

Unfortunately, an investigation by the Washington Post revealed that about 900 million accounts had their information publicly accessible through a database that wasn’t password protected.

The contents of the database include plenty of compromising details about each user as they spell out in their ‘whispers’ (the social network’s name for a post) what they’re thinking and feeling.

Although names are withheld from the platform, things like sexual orientation, age, ethnicity and place of work are all discussed.

What’s more, because the location data of each post is included, it’s quite possible for an anonymous user to be identified.

Whisper allows anyone over the age of 13 to sign up for an account. The reporters from the Post were able to actively query the database and they explained that a search for users listing themselves as 15 or younger returned 1.3 million results.

Whisper’s parent company, MediaLab, disputed the report. The company responded to the Post’s article by telling the paper the information was meant to be public-facing and was a feature of the app. It said location sharing was designed to add authenticity – but did concede that the database should not be ‘queried directly’. As a result, it says it has removed the information.

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