Captured Technology

Facebook Privacy Flaws Discovery Costs Internship

Aug 13 2015

MaraudersMap

Aran Khanna was looking forward to an Internship at Facebook before that opportunity was taken away. A browser application that he developed showing individual’s location when they were chatting with Facebook Messenger, made the company upset. The application used a security flaw in the site that Facebook had been aware of but did not fix. Khanna promoted the app on Medium, Reddit, and Twitter. Within 3 days the company disabled the security flaw, asked Khanna to take down the app, and withdraw his internship. For a Harvard student working in his dorm room, the move was quite ironic.

The company then released a new version of Facebook Messenger that protects user locations. The whole situation was described by Khanna in the Harvard Journal of Technology Science recently. The reason he lost his internship was due to violating the company’s user agreement by collecting user location data through the security flaw. Khanna feels that he was only demonstrating that the flaw existed and did not create the app to be malicious.

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