Facebook shows door to Indian-Origin Intern After he Highlighted a Huge Privacy Issue

Social networking giant Facebook has cancelled and struck down a Harvard student’s internship after being appalled for figuring out their serious privacy flaws in the social network’s messaging service by the Google Chrome plugin the aspiring intern has created. Aran Khanna, an computer science and mathematics student built up an Google chrome plugin Marauder’s Map in May, 2015. Aran Khanna’s developed Google chrome plugin Marauder’s Map lets the users of Facebook Messenger to figure out the geographical location of their location with everyone they message with by default.

facebook denies internship for Indian student

Aran Khanna’s Marauder’s Map Plugin Traced Current Real-Time Locations of Facebook Users

Marauder’s Map plugin used to allow the Facebook Messenger users to track incisively geographical location of their counterparts with whom they in a conversation thread with. Another major concerning issue of this plugin was that it worked well with users who they were not friends list on Facebook and was precise enough locate friends within a meter.

How can geeks across the globe miss out such an incredible handy plugin which allowed them to explore their ways on Facebook. So was the plugin download over 85,000 times and was viral globally in no time. This led the handy plugin to get featured in The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, and many other leading news portals.

“Don’t Dare to Speak Out Against Us”- Facebook

Aran Khanna was directed by Facebook to disable the plugin after three days of launching it through the  Medium post. However after being questioned in this regard Aran Khanna denied to respond to press and Facebook released a new version of messenger a week later inducing some changes in the application about how its esteemed users shared their current locations. Sharing his personal experiences, Aran Khanna published a case study for the Harvard Journal of Technology Science. Read out the initial impressions of Aran Khanna in this regard:

“[On] the afternoon of the 27th, one day after the Medium blog post’s publication, Facebook contacted me. My future manager phoned and asked me not to speak to any press; however, I was told that I could keep my blog post up. By that evening, the global communications lead for privacy and public policy at Facebook called me to clarify Facebook’s expectations that I not speak to the press, saying that his objective was to hamper the spread of what had become a damaging story.

By midday of the 28th, the global communications lead for privacy and public policy at Facebook requested by email that I disable the extension. I complied within the hour by deactivating the Mapbox API key associated with the extension so that all current and future users could no longer load the map used to display geolocation data.”

“We Terminate Your Internship in Regards With Your Plugin”- Facebook

Well all these unfavorable didn’t end up for Aran here as three days later when Facebook contacted him again and stated that it was cancelling his internship:

On the afternoon of the 29th, three days after my initial posts, Facebook phoned me to inform me that it was rescinding the offer of a summer internship, citing as a reason that the extension violated the Facebook user agreement by “scraping” the site. The head of global human resources and recruiting followed up with an email message stating that my blog post did not reflect the “high ethical standards” around user privacy expected of interns. According to the email, the privacy issue was not with Facebook Messenger, but rather with my blog post and code describing how Facebook collected and shared users’ geolocation data.

A spokesperson of Facebook said “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” when he was asked for the  comment over this issue.

“Facebook Messenger Wasn’t Updated Because of Khanna” Facebook

Facebook spokesperson further added that their social network’s messenger wasn’t updated addressing the loopholes figured out by Khanna’s plugin. He said “This isn’t the sort of thing that can happen in a week … Even though we move very, fast here, they’d been working on it for a few months.”

Aran Khanna the Indian intellect who developed this amazing plugin to for the geeks responded as “It is possible that before my extension and blog post, the degree of location data collection and sharing by Facebook Messenger was hard for an average user to notice and thus did not raise significant concern. Without public pressure, Facebook may have lacked significant incentive to change. My extension and blog post made the data collection and sharing practice real and transparent” when he was asked to respond.

He briefed about this whole row of Facebook and his plugin in a blog post as

“What does this say about privacy protection? Can we reasonably expect Facebook or others with an interest in collecting and sharing personal data, to be responsible guardians of privacy? Could this work have been done inside Facebook to understand how its users view the collection and sharing of their data? Must future privacy guardians always be on the outside?”

Is the Facebook’s responses over Khanna is justifiable? Share your inner stray thoughts with us leaving them as comments below. Stay tuned with us for more trending updates by bookmarking us pressing Ctrl+D in your web browser for easy navigation.

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