A 10-year old kid has just become the youngest person ever to receive a reward from Facebook after he uncovered a bug on its Instagram platform. (And he isn’t even old enough to have his personal account, according to Instagram’s minimum age policy.)
Instagram, which was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1bn, is part of the Facebook “bug bounty” program, which was created in 2011, under which people who spot chinks in Facebook’s digital armour are given a $10,000 reward.
The program has paid upwards of $4.3m to more than 800 people who have spotted bugs in the social network’s programming, a spokesperson for Instagram confirmed.
The bug allowed other User’s comments to be deleted, although not in bulk, and was reported and fixed in February. The reward was paid out in March.
The 10-year-old has been interested in coding and video games for 2 years, according to the Helsinki-based newspaper Iltalehti, which first reported the story. He has a twin brother, and the 2 have been learning together.
He got interested in information security – which he stated could be his “dream job” – and honed his craft using instructional videos on YouTube.
“I tested whether the comments section of Instagram can handle harmful code. Turns out it can’t. I noticed that I can delete other people’s comments from there,” the young hacker told Iltalehti. “I could have deleted anyone’s – like Justin Bieber’s for example – comments.”
His classmates were “stunned and astonished” by the reward, according to Iltalehi, and his father, Marko, informed the paper that it had come as “a total surprise that [he] has gone this far with it”.
“For me all this is social media gibberish – [it’s like] Greek [to me],” he added.
Named only as “Jani”, the boy from Helsinki, Finland, plans to spend his money on a bike and a soccer ball, the newspaper reported.