Virtual security and hacks have been an issue with companies, world leaders and the general population pretty munch since the invention of the internet.
Most of the time there’s no real threat. But every now and again an app, a website, or a smart but misguided person will do something that does give us a real reason to worry.
Facebook Inc has just joined the club of those who should worry you. Named “Marauder’s Map” (think Harry Potter), and developed by Aran Khanna (a Harvard student who will become an intern for the social media platform starting in June), Facebook’s mapping app automatically send your location to anyone you happen to chat with. It actually loads a map with your location in Messenger’s Web interface and includes it in your chats.
Your friend from work? Sure. Mom? Of course. That creepy user that randomly started talking to you and insists you should sell your kidneys on the black market? Why, yes. Of course they know exactly where you are. Even Khanna has admitted the service is creepy.
Smartphone users in particular are in danger of being stalked since the app requires location sharing to be enabled, a setting that mobile devices have by default.
Marauder’s Map does not just share a general location with your chatting partners, but Khanna informs that it in fact pinpoints your exact location to less than a meter by showing latitude and longitude coordinates “that have more than 5 decimal places of precision”.
Due to an overwhelming negative response the app was taken down earlier this week, however there are reports of it being back up again.
Khanna however assures us that we have nothing to worry about, Facebook has notified her that they are fixing the issue, so we shouldn’t expect the code to work for too much longer.
If you’d like to be sure that your location isn’t being revealed to anyone you don’t want to share it with, you can turn off location tracking. Simply look at the compass icon sitting above the “Like” button in your chats. If the icon is blue, the app is automatically sending your location to everyone. All you need to do to turn it off is tap it / click it.
As a result of the event, a Facebook spokeswoman did give a statement to PCMag, informing that people on Facebook enjoy sharing their location with friends in order to connected with them, and that the company is actively working on improving their experience.
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