Chrome extension ‘Mauraders Map’ is tracking location of Facebook Messenger users

By  | 

A newly developed Google Chrome browser extension is tracking Facebook Messenger users’ locations.

Mauraders Map, developed by Harvard computer science and mathematics student, Aran Khanna, is designed to allow Facebook users to see exactly from where their contacts are messaging them, that too without their permission or consent.

According to the software developer, the extension grabs a user’s location data from Facebook Messenger and quickly plots it out on a map. The extension only requires location sharing on the Messenger app with GPS turned on the mobile and it could retrieve location from messages sent with location sharing enabled. The location is said to be extremely precise and makes it super easy to stalk a person.

“The first thing I noticed when I started to write my code was that the latitude and longitude coordinates of the message locations have more than 5 decimal places of precision, making it possible to pinpoint the sender’s location to less than a meter,” Aran Khanna wrote on his Medium blog.

“You may not believe that there are enough of these location tagged messages to provide truly invasive data on any one person, since they must be on mobile, with GPS on, and choose to share their location for it to be sent… right?”

“What you should keep in mind is that the mobile app for Facebook Messenger defaults to sending a location with all messages.”

Aran has noted in Google’s Chrome store that he has since deactivated the extension at Facebook’s request so it no longer works.

Acknowledging the issue, Facebook said “We’ve been listening to people’s feedback and for the last few months have been working hard to improve this experience.”

“We will be rolling out improvements very soon. In the meantime, people can still choose to turn off location sharing at any time by tapping the blue arrow in the message composer.”