Don’t Send Any Private Links To Your Friends On Facebook Chat

Security researchers recently found a problem with Facebook Messenger that would have allowed any malicious minded attacker change links and messages sent through the service. While Facebook fixed the problem, there is another problem in the platform that allows anyone to see links you share via Messenger and FB has no intention on changing this policy.

Don't Send Any Private Links To Your Friends On Facebook Chat

Facebook explains the “problem” it won’t fix in Messenger

When you share a link with a friend, the Facebook crawler extracts the information it needs and assigns it a number. After that when Facebook displays that link it does so from its database. While this is handy for Facebook, many are concerned and believe that this information should be secret not available to anyone.

Once this number is public, a developer can get information about the link from this number using the FB API.

This flaw was found by Inti De Ceukelaire and he demonstrated that using FB’s crawler tool he had no difficulty viewing “private” links share via the messenger. All the information about the link is available minus the sender’s name.

facebook chat

The find just shows, that what you think is private doesn’t necessarily make it the case as so often happens on the Internet.

De Ceukelaire, shared this information and was left gobsmacked by the fact that Facebook was aware of the flaw and even said that this was the intended purpose of the Crawler.

Essentially, if something is quite private, keep it off your social networks no matter how private you think it may be.

Facebook changes its News Feed algorithm

This revelation came at the same time that Facebook announced that its 1.65 billion users will see an improved News Feed that will focus more on your friends and family by tweaking its algorithm that controls the feed.

In a note to publishers, “a small amount but a noticeable amount,” said Adam Mosseri, the product manager who runs Facebook’s news feed. “Some publishers may go up, some publishers may go down, some publishers may go down more.”

“It’s important for people to understand that there’s a group of people who work on news feed, not just sort of like a third party agent that acts autonomously,” Mr. Mosseri said.

“That is an opinion. That isn’t neutral. That’s not a political bias, but that is a bias and that is reflected in our decisions and therefore it is reflected in our ranking order,” he continued.

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]

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