Marauder’s Map, the new Google Chrome extension pools together all location data associated with Facebook messaging and creates one coherent map.
Pretty eerie, isn’t it? All messages sent and received on Facebook’s Messenger and accurately tracked and connected on the extension that takes its name from, yes, Harry Potter.
Anyone who has ever sent or received a message on Messenger has access to the map and can pinpoint the exact location of the interlocutors to an inch.
Of course, that requires that a user had location tracking enabled on their phone. That is where the issue arises. Most of us are so forgetful about GPS or any other location tracking services being activated on our devices that we mindlessly indulge in the situation.
Marauder’s Map was created by Aran Khanna. He majored in computer science at Harvard and is currently undergoing an internship at Facebook. Rather than exposing an eerie practice, Aran simply wants to draw users’ attention to the mindless indulgence.
In a post he wrote for Medium he explained precisely that location pinned on Marauder’s Map is accurate to an inch. From his own data pooling in connection with data of the friend’s he’d been chatting up on Facebook’s messenger, he could even determine the daily or hourly schedule of each one of the friends he’d been texting.
Each time a text is posted, Messenger pings location coordinates. That enables Marauder’s Map to show everyone where their peers were messaging from. It is debatable whether or not it is with or without knowledge and consent.
For those willing to witness the magic of Marauder’s Map by themselves, all you have to do is to download the Chrome extension, access messages on Facebook from the desktop and look for the little pop-up calling the extension’s name.
Once a conversation is clicked, the profile photos of those taking part in the thread will appear in circles on the map. Additional data follows once you start scrolling through the map.
Once you are done staring in amazement, you might consider telling your friends about it and taking action for Messenger and the Chrome extension to stop pooling data as such. That depends on the users, we suppose.
However, Android users have the option to go to the menu of Messenger, click on Settings, Location Services and disable everything that might seem suspicious. Check regularly.
iOS users need to access Settings, Privacy, choose Location Services, click on Messenger and finally choose Never.
Aran Khanna wanted to mention that far from being a real-time tracking extension, Marauder’s Map just pools all the message’s embedded data in one coherent map.
With the users’ unknowing consent.
Image Source: AlJazeera