The ugly side of Facebook: Social media giant expels an intern for pointing out flaws in the system!

Had Facebook been around in the mid-90s, I would have definitely applied for a job. Doing something to help people connect with each other would have been extremely satisfying for a socially-active bird like me. I would have been my neighbour’s envy, and family’s pride.

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, social media

By the time it was launched, though, I was already at a point of no return, professionally. I was doing rather very well without Facebook’s tag.

Facebook pays well and most people work there because it’s highly gratifying. There is status attached to it, too. When you say you work with Facebook, people look up and take notice.

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, social media

While Facebook has revolutionised the way we connect with each other, the California-based company, created by Mark Zuckerberg and his room-mates at Harvard in February, 2004, is starting to take its users and employees for granted!

Aran Khanna, a Harvard, couldn’t contain his excitement. He had cracked Facebook and was looking forward to doing internship with the firm. Three months before he was slated to join work, he created an application called ‘Marauder’s Map’ (all Harry Potter fans will get it). This application would connect to your Facebook messenger and show the location of people from where they have messaged you.

This revealed a critical privacy flaw with Facebook’s extension. The user tweeted about this application on May 26th and within three days, it got numerous downloads. Soon, Facebook contacted Aran and asked him to take down the application. The location extension was disabled from the desktop which meant Aran’s application would not work even if it was not taken down.
Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, social media

Aran’s internship at Facebook was soon cancelled, and was charged with violating the privacy and safety of users, and by creating and exploiting the tool. Instead of acknowledging Aran’s effort and thanking him for pointing out a major privacy loophole, Facebook decided to cancel his internship.

Aran had duly informed the Facebook team about his idea and creation of an application before launching it. The intentions behind the invention was to point out a major flaw, that there can be other people out there who would use this privacy flaw to their own benefit. He should have been rewarded for his effort, not denounced and abandoned.

The right thing to do would have been to get him on board and work together towards eradicating the bug.

Facebook has enjoyed goodwill over the years. Such actions will only serve to alienate its users.