By Chloe Aiello
Security researcher Jane Manchun Wong was the first to call attention to the "unsend" feature Facebook is testing for Messenger. She also uncovered Facebook Dating ー even before the social media giant announced it.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student, who has amassed a huge Twitter following for her reverse app engineering discoveries, could easily shop out her scoops to the highest bidder. But for Wong, it has never been about the money.
"I feel like all this information, I just want it to be as free and accessible to as many people as possible. Instead of being paid by each publication and being measured by how newsworthy each scoop is, I just post it on Twitter, no matter how newsworthy it is," Wong told Cheddar on Monday.
Within the past week, alone, Wong tweeted screenshots of an Uber Eats feature that lets customers tip their courier before placing an order ー and adjust the tip up to an hour after delivery; a Spotify ($SPOT) test of a redesigned Library view that lets users make their favorite songs into playlists; and a Facebook ($FB) test of a "hobbies" feature and card-like profiles views. Wong said it takes a few hours for her to catch on to a hidden feature, and then just a few minutes to crack it.
She only holds back from sharing her findings in the event of sensitive data leaks, which she reports to the companies.
"I've never really been officially contacted by Facebook or any other tech company, but sometimes when I [find a security vulnerability] that will leak other users' data, I will usually just report that to Facebook by their bug bounty program, and stop that before the actual breaches happen," Wong said.
Wong said the hobby was sparked by her curiosity about exactly what major technology companies are doing on customers' devices using their data.
"Every time when the apps are updated, every time it would only say 'bug fixes and improvement,' but I wanted to know what was inside the app, so I decompress the file and I see what has changed," she said.
At the moment, Wong is working on uncovering new features on both Instagram and Facebook. "Stay tuned," she said.
For full interview click here.