The Facebook Messenger app is over-sharing information about your location and it might actually prove dangerous for you in some situations. In order to demonstrate precisely that, an extension to the app has recently been created. It took the Harry Potter name of “Marauders Map” and exactly like in the book, it can record your location patterns and show your movement in real time.
And if you think that the extension might be dangerous, because anyone who uses it can track you down anywhere you are, then consider the fact the all the information it uses is out there for everyone to see at all times, courtesy of Facebook.
Every time you send a message on the Facebook Messenger app, the person you are writing to can see your exact location. The information is so accurate, that it can reveal where you are, up to street level.
Furthermore, this information could be easily used to record a person’s movement patterns, and that can prove to be extremely dangerous in a wide range of situations, ranging from plain old stalking to serious burglaries.
Fortunately, the people who receive this information are your Facebook friends, so at least you have some kind of idea who is getting your location. But since it is so incredibly easy to set a fake Facebook profile, you can never really know who you’re talking to.
And it actually gets worse. If you happen to be in a group conversation with people who are not your Facebook friends, once you start writing, your location is revealed to them as well.
Now think about how many spam messages you got this year regarding some kind of bogus pole or fake pay it forward movement. This is just one example of how easy it is to get tricked into revealing your location to dubious people.
This is why Aran Khanna created the “Marauders Map” so as to make people see just how easily somebody can have extensive information about you that they may use to whatever purpose from there on. Obviously, the extension has been made “non-functional” at the moment, but it can still be easily found online and downloaded.
There is something you can do to protect yourself though and it is rather easy, but it requires your constant attention. First off, you need to turn off the GPS on your phone and then you need to go into the setting menu of the Messenger app and turn off the feature that shares your location.
However, since the Messenger app gets constantly updated, you need to check the location feature every once in a while, because its default version is set to share your location to the people you talk to. And it becomes your responsibility to make sure that this does not happen to you.
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