Trust an Indian to find a flaw in Facebook!
Aran Khanna – an Indian-origin student of Harvard University – had bagged an internship at Facebook Inc. While interning there, he found a glitch in Facebook’s messenger which allowed the user to track the location of anyone he was chatting with.
He invented a Google Chrome plugin which would precisely track the location of anyone a user was in contact with, accurate to a metre.
Being a Harry Potter fan, Khanna had named the plugin Marauder’s Map. Within 3 days of launching the plugin, it was downloaded 85,000 times.
However, he disabled the plugin after 3 days upon Facebook’s insistence. The company also reset their messenger, and released a new version wherein a user could control whether to disclose his location or not.
His summer internship offer was then rescinded because he had violated the company’s user agreement when he scraped the site for location data.
And just in case you’re thinking Aran’s feeling bad about getting fired from his internship, think again. Facebook just made him famous! Everyone knows him now! Here are a few of his tweets and retweets:
When the Guardian mentions you and Ed Snowden in the same article. If I wasn’t on a watch list before I sure am now http://t.co/WOGXejMDN9— Aran Khanna (@arankhanna) May 28, 2015
And the obligatory: “I made the front page of Hacker News” tweet— Aran Khanna (@arankhanna) May 27, 2015
Check out this blog + extension I wrote about how your friends can track you from Facebook Messenger https://t.co/ufWhvifNLV— Aran Khanna (@arankhanna) May 26, 2015