This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social and is part of the “Be Safe. Be Social” series.
If you have seen Harry Potter (which would be most of us) then you are familiar with the ‘Marauder’s Map’ which reveals every inch of Hogwarts and also shows where everyone is in real time. Magical, right? Well it turns out that Facebook Messenger actually has pretty much this exact same thing which has been exposed in a new extension created on Chrome by Aran Kanna. And its really, really accurate. Scarily accurate…its a stalkers dream.
Messenger uses location data from messages sent with location sharing enabled. Many people don’t realise it but location sharing is enabled by default, you have to manually turn it off on both the Android and iOS apps. As a result, many people will more than likely have location sharing turned on and to this point people haven’t really been bothered about sharing location information as such. The only people who can access our location information is friends, right?
This extension is easy to use, simply download it on chrome and then open Messenger. A map will appear in the bottom right of the screen (I’m not showing you mine because I don’t want to distribute my friends location data online) and when you open a conversation with location data enabled the map will plot the point where the message was sent from. It turns out to be scarily accurate, in fact it is only off by a mere few feet.
Here is a screenshot taken from Google Images of the extension itself.
This is where it gets even more creepy, clicking on one of these bubbles of your friends on the map will show you where they have been and it loads up all past location points for that user. So basically you get a full log for that individual and a track on the map of where they have used Messenger in the past.
You can zoom in on the map and pinpoint locations down to actual streets and as we mentioned at the start, most people tend to have their data turned on whether they know it or not. Facebook has been known to have privacy controversy in the past and they are continually reminding people to check their settings.
An extension like this is a powerful reminder that you need to be aware of what kind of data you are making accessible online. Feeling a bit creeped out? Thankfully disabling location data is easy on both Android and iOS.
- Go to menu > settings > location services
- Untick the box which enables location services
- Go to settings > privacy > location services
- Locate Facebook Messenger and set the location option off
About The Author
Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. He has an Advanced Diploma in Psychology and a Diploma in Digital Marketing And Social Media. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]