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Facebook Cancelled A Harvard Student's Internship After He Exposed A Massive Glitch In Their System

"They stated that my actions were not up to the 'high ethical standards' expected of interns," Aran Khanna told BuzzFeed News.

Harvard student Aran Khanna was supposed to intern with Facebook starting in June. However, after he pointed out a massive flaw in Facebook's messenger app on Android devices, his internship was revoked.

Upon realising that people using the Facebook Messenger app share their location with everyone they message by default, Khanna built a Google Chrome plugin that could accurately track the movement of anyone that users had messaged on Facebook.

Khanna dubbed the app "Marauder's Map" and it was downloaded 85,000 times when it was released.

In the post, Khanna explains that Facebook provides screenshots of how Messenger collects location data.

Medium
Medium

According to Khanna, within three days of launching the app, Facebook told him to take down the plugin and then rescinded his internship invitation.

Update

A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed in an email:

"This is revisionist history that conveniently omits a few important points. First, we began developing improvements to location sharing months ago, based on input from people who use Messenger. Second, this mapping tool scraped Facebook data in a way that violated our terms, and those terms exist to protect people's privacy and safety. Despite being asked repeatedly to remove the code, the creator of this tool left it up. This is wrong and it's inconsistent with how we think about serving our community.

"We don't dismiss employees for exposing privacy flaws, but we do take it seriously when someone misuses user data and puts people at risk."