If you use Facebook messenger to chat with your friends (and millions of us do), you might want to hear about what one man has discovered!
Aran Khanna, whose website identifies him as a student at Harvard in Computer Science and Mathematics, decided to do some digging into his Facebook messenger history. He found that there was location information on many of his friends within the chats. He decided to write an extension for the Chrome browser called Marauder’s Map so that he and others could see just how extensive the information was. The result was a shocking amount of data on his friends, and even those he wasn’t friends with.
Scary information can pinpoint your exact location and schedule
Khanna found while writing his extension that he was able to pinpoint a user’s location to within one meter! In one example, Khanna tracked a friend who goes to Stanford. ‘By simply looking at the cluster of messages sent late at night you can tell exactly where his dorm is, and in fact approximately where his room is located in that dorm. Furthermore, by gathering a couple weeks’ worth of chat data on the map and looking at the location clusters you can even figure out his weekly schedule. With this you can predict exactly which building he would be in at a given time.’
Here’s an image from Maurauder’s Map of Khanna’s friend’s locations:
Ironically, Khanna says he is about to embark upon an internship with a different department at Facebook. To read the whole story and see some of the info he gathered through his program, click here.