Aran Khanna is a 21-year-old CS50 Course Assistant at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences who was about to start interning for Facebook. He has come into the news after developing the Marauders Map app. This is a Google Chrome extension, which allows users to see the exact location of the people they are talking to on Facebook messenger. The same was downloaded by 85,000 people as soon as it was launched.
Khanna is of the opinion that he has developed the app to show the consequences of sharing data unintentionally by social networking and other sites. He thought he was doing a public service.
However, this did not go well with Facebook. The social media giant cancelled his internship just hours before he was about to start it. According to Facebook, “Despite being asked repeatedly to remove the code, the creator of this tool left it up. This is wrong and it’s inconsistent with how we think about serving our community.”
To which Khanna responded by means of an email to IANS, “I complied with Facebook’s requests as they pertained to both, my interactions with the media and the handling of the code, every step of the way. My intentions were never malicious; I simply sought to draw attention to a privacy issue that I knew many people were unaware of.”
However, Facebook continued to maintain that Aran Khanna’s app violated company norms. Facebook has also said that they started working on improvements to the location-sharing months ago. It added that Khanna’s mapping tool scrapped Facebook data in a manner that it compromised on the privacy and safety of their users.
Facebook also added, “We don’t dismiss employees for exposing privacy flaws, but we do take it seriously when someone misuses user data and puts people at risk.”
Khanna told Boston.com that his summer internship was withdrawn by Facebook three days after Marauder’s Map was launched. He was called by his future manager and was told to not to talk to the press about anything.