Stalking Made Easy With Facebook Messenger

It seems every few months, people suddenly realize the iPhone is tracking their location data. There will be numerous blog posts throughout the interwebs, warning people of this fact, and giving directions of how to turn it off. And people are amazed and feel violated that a company like Apple would be keeping tabs on where they have been.

Of course another iOS update comes and turns their location collecting back on by default and iPhone users are none the wiser.

Back on topic though, how about if anyone could see precisely where you’ve been? With near pinpoint precision?

Ok, so maybe not anyone. Just anyone you’ve conversed with on Facebook Messenger. Friend or not.

image
a screenshot of the Chrome Extension

A student at Harvard, Aran Khanna has discovered  this is possible, and has created a Chrome extension making it easy for anyone to do. It seems the Facebook Messenger mobile app defaults to sending location data with each message. And it is extremely accurate information. Accurate to less than a meter.

Khanna discovered that with the frequency of messages bearing location data, he could easily figure out people’s schedules, right down to what their dorm room may be. And the not so wonderful thing about this? All the tracking is done without a user’s permission or knowledge.

Now, it’s been some time since I used Facebook Messenger, but when I last did, it wasn’t too impressive. It didn’t hold a candle to BBM. At the same time, sharing your location can be fun and useful. I’ve done it many times before on BBM. The difference is, it was done when I wanted and by choice.

At some point the general public may question why companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google choose to make the default settings those that steal user’s information. Until then, there’s now a Chrome extension that will make life so much easier for stalkers.

Do you use Facebook Messenger? If so, I’d like to suggest grabbing the extension, use it to track your friends (and even those that aren’t your friends) and show them. And once they realize just how at risk Facebook has left them, suggest they use a proper messenger. A messenger which prioritizes our privacy. Invite them to BBM!

Brad

BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • Blackjack

    How ironic. A Google Chrome extension to track Facebook messenger.

  • nnik

    ….. and no way to opt out I guess

  • The saddest thing? They still won’t care until it’s too late.

    Here in the UK a cheating wife and her boyfriend were recently brutally murdered by her husband in front of their young daughter. He caught them together using ‘Find my friends’.

    • Blackjack

      There you go. Assisted murder. Makes the app an accomplice I would say.

  • Poita316

    Yet another reason why I’m happy I stopped using Facebook last year. I’m on Twitter and that’s it. People want to contact me? Send me a BBM message :D

  • shanerredflag

    Wonder who they are providing that info to…and for how many dollars??

  • Crazy. Facebook is just a big, online magazine and we are their content. I gasped for a second until I checked my app permissions and realized Facebook does not have access to my location. Pretty simple on BB10.

    Still, a friend told me anytime your browser touches Facebook online, your web history is compromised and no browser setting will eliminate this.

    • Blackjack

      Plus if you ever wipe your phone and have to reinstall it I heard the default is to send location. Easy to forget.

  • Blackjack

    Let’s look on the bright side. All of this surrendering of privacy is keeping us safe from terrorists. Maybe not from stalkers but hey…

  • Anthony

    Facebook is lucky so many users are stupid. locco_smiley_24

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