Harvard Student Loses Facebook Internship After He Launched App Showing That Facebook’s Privacy Features Suck

by 4 years ago
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General rule of thumb for all the college grads and those new to the workforce — don’t embarrass the company you’re about to intern for by exposing their faults. Especially when that company is Facebook. UNLESS your goal is to make them look dumb. Then, by all means, carry on.

But Harvard student Aran Khanna wasn’t trying to make Facebook look bad. He was just pointing out an issue with Facebook’s privacy settings.

Aran Khanna’s app – called Marauder’s Map in tribute to the Harry Potter books – showed that users of Facebook Messenger could pinpoint the exact locations of people they were talking to.

He told Boston.com he created the app to show the consequences of unintentionally sharing data and thought he was doing a public service.

“I didn’t write the program to be malicious,” he said.

Khanna launched the app from his dorm room in May and said 85,000 people downloaded it.

Harvard student launching an app in his dorm. Sounds familiar. Anyway, Facebook got wind of Khanna’s app and asked him to disable it. Not long after, Facebook released a Messenger app update addressing the flaw. Convenient. Also convenient is how FB is claiming they knew about the issue all along and were JUST ABOUT to fix it.

Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld said the company had been working on a Messenger update months before it became aware of Khanna’s app. “This isn’t the sort of thing that can happen in a week,” Steinfeld said.

Not unless someone else solves the problem, Facebook demands that he take it down and then rips it off. Not unless that.

Khanna was contacted before the start of his internship and was told they were taking back the offer. He ended up interning with a different start-up this summer.

[via USA Today]


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