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Harvard Student Loses Facebook Internship After Revealing How Messenger Tracked Users

August 14, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Geoffrey Grider / InvestmentWatchBlog

Three Mmonths ago, Harvard student Aran Khanna was preparing to start s Coveted internship at Facebook when he launched a browser application from his dorm room that angered the social media behemoth.

His application, called Marauder's Map -- a clever name that Harry Potter fans will appreciate -- was a Chrome extension that used data from Facebook Messenger to map where users were when they sent messages. The app also showed the locations, which were accurate to within three feet, in a group chat with people he barely knew. That meant complete strangers could hypothetically see that he had messaged them from a Starbucks around the corner, while he could see that they had messaged from their dorms.

Khanna tweeted about the app on May 26 and posted about it on Reddit and Medium. Marauder's Map began to go viral. Facebook, never one to miss a trend, quickly caught on.

Within three days, Facebook asked Khanna to disable the app. The company also deactivated location sharing from desktops, which meant Khanna's app wouldn't work even if he hadn't taken it down. And the company that Mark Zuckerberg famously launched from his Harvard dorm room withdrew its internship offer from this Harvard student, who apparently made the mistake of...launching an app from his dorm room.

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