Scholarship News

Facebook Privacy Breach Exposed by Harvard Student


August 20, 2015
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Thought you had adequate privacy on Facebook? Think again. Though there are various privacy settings offered by the social networking website,  Harvard University student Aran Khanna, who was scheduled to intern at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters in Palo Alto,  California, found a major privacy glitch in the Messenger app. As a public service, Khanna created Marauder's Map from his dormitory – an app that used existing data to show the danger in unintentionally sharing data. After a Facebook HR representative had contacted and told him to deactivate the app, as well as avoid talking to the press, Khanna complied and in turn, had his scheduled summer internship rescinded.

Thought you had adequate privacy on Facebook? Think again. Though there are various privacy settings offered by the social networking website, Harvard University student Aran Khanna, who was scheduled to intern at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters in Palo Alto, California, found a major privacy glitch in the Messenger app. As a public service, Khanna created Marauder's Map from his dormitory – an app that used existing data to show the danger in unintentionally sharing data. After a Facebook HR representative had contacted and told him to deactivate the app, as well as avoid talking to the press, Khanna complied and in turn, had his scheduled summer internship rescinded.

Khanna explored the Facebook Messenger issue, just as it had been by the CNET in 2012, so this was no new discovery. Rather, he claims his code was able to simply "read data that was already on your screen and display it on a map." Facebook officials claimed this violated user agreement by extracting data from the site. In reality, Khanna had used the data from his own personal messages, not data exclusive to employees. Facebook issued a statement shortly thereafter, addressing the Messenger app update. Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld claimed, "you have full control over when and how you share your location information." Furthermore, Facebook claims they had been working on the update “for a few months” before Khanna’s post and that “this isn't the sort of thing that can happen in a week.” Khanna never made it to his first day interning at Facebook and expressed his sentiments in his article for TIME Magazine and an academic paper in the Harvard Journal Technology Science. Khanna was offered and accepted another internship at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley and claims he uses the entire event as a learning experience.

Do you have the same computer skills and passion for technology as Khanna? Want to be the next tech genius? Find how you can qualify for computer science scholarships and other technology-based awards if you have aspirations to land prestigious internships and admission to your dream college by conducting a free scholarship search today.

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phurba doma bhutia  on  8/28/2015 6:32:11 AM commented:

I am student of m.s.s

Nabeela Yasmeen  on  8/24/2015 3:01:37 AM commented:

Hope to hear good

Menna mamdouh  on  8/22/2015 8:21:15 PM commented:

I need to study abroad

Nuha Awad allh  on  8/22/2015 2:40:26 AM commented:

My dream ?? its getting scholarships seriously I dream about that

Beth H  on  8/21/2015 12:50:01 PM commented:

It's a little unsettling knowing just how easy it is to have darn near anything found out about you

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