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Facebook Paid A 10-Year-Old $10,000 For Hacking Instagram

The youngest person ever to receive a reward from the social network.

Posted on May 4, 2016, at 2:11 p.m. ET

Eric Risberg / AP

This March, Facebook handed over a $10,000 check to someone too young to sign up for a Facebook account.

The 10 year-old — a kid in Finland known only as Jani because, you know, he's a child — uncovered a security flaw in Instagram back in February, BuzzFeed News confirmed with Facebook. According to reports, it took just a few lines of code to delete anyone's comments on the service. "I would have been able to eliminate anyone, even Justin Bieber," is what Google Translate tells BuzzFeed News Jani told his hometown paper, Iltalehti, which first reported the story.

For uncovering the flaw, he was eligible for a reward from Facebook. It's typical of companies to pay anyone who can find an undetected flaw in their system — a practice known as "white hat" hacking — thousands of dollars for bringing it to their attention, rather than exploiting the vulnerabilities. According to Facebook's 2015 update on the program, it has given out over $4.3 million in bounties for security flaws.

Jani is now the youngest person to ever receive a bounty from Facebook. The previous record-holder was a 13-year-old.

"Security," said Jani, "is really important."

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