Student, whose internship was cancelled by Facebook for highlighting privacy flaw speaks out

New Delhi: A day after Facebook claimed that Indian-origin Aran Khanna did not remove the code from a malicious app despite requests, Khanna said on Saturday that he had complied with all the requests.

Also read: Facebook cancels Indian student's internship after he highlighted massive privacy issue

“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,” said Khanna, adding, “My intentions were never malicious; I simply sought to draw attention to a privacy issue that many people were unaware of.”

“Despite being asked repeatedly to remove the code, the creator of this tool left it up. It’s inconsistent with how we think about serving our community,” Facebook said in a statement. Khanna said: “I’m hopeful this story will foster conversations about how Facebook and other companies handle privacy issues, specifically, whether they take steps to proactively protect our privacy, or if it takes pressure from the outside to affect change.”

Facebook maintained that Khanna’s mapping tool (Marauder’s Map) violated company norms. “We began developing improvements to location-sharing months ago, based on inputs from people who use Messenger. His mapping tool scrapped Facebook data in a way that violated our terms,” the statement said.

“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,” the company added. Khanna, however claimed that Facebook withdrew its summer internship offer three days after Marauder’s Map was launched.

According to the website, the day after Marauder’s Map was posted, Khanna said his future manager at Facebook called him and asked him not to talk to the press. Marauder’s Map was a Chrome extension that used data from Facebook Messenger to map where users were when they sent messages.

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