The latest version of the Microsoft Edge browser is leaking the URLs of every website that the user is visiting the Bing API servers, raising data privacy concerns for the users, according to a report by The Verge.
The reason behind this is the “follow creators” feature that was added by Microsoft Edge in January 2022. Apparently, this feature is designed to help users to keep up with their favorite content creators on YouTube whenever a new video is posted. However, the malfunction is causing the feature to send every URL or domain that the user visits to Bing API endpoints.
The bug was first noticed by a Reddit user known as “hackermchackface” last week. It appears that the newest version of Microsoft Edge browser sends a request to bingapis.com with the full URLs of virtually every website that a user visits to Bing API servers “bingapis.com/api/v7/followweb/isfollowable”, even ones that are not related to content creators.
The Redditor hackermchackface wrote:
What is causing Edge to leak all visited URLs following latest update? API is: bingapis.com/api/v7/followweb/isfollowable ?
GET request includes full url of every page navigate to.
Searching for References to this url give very few results, no documentation on this feature at all. Json response shows type as “FollowableStatus” which yields zero Google results, which is rare.
Surely I can’t be the first to discover this?!
While Reddit users were unable to find out why Microsoft Edge is sending URLs to its Bing API servers, Microsoft MVP and Stardock engineer Rafael Rivera provided the following statement to The Verge:
Microsoft Edge now has a creator follow feature that is enabled by default, it appears the intent was to notify Bing when you’re on certain pages, such as YouTube, The Verge, and Reddit. But it doesn’t appear to be working correctly, instead sending nearly every domain you visit to Bing
Microsoft is investigating the problem and working on a solution. Caitlin Roulston, Director of Communications at Microsoft confirmed that the company is aware of such reports and it would take appropriate action to address any issues.
While Microsoft has not offered a solution on how to stop it from happening, it is strongly recommended to turn off the “follow creators” feature in Microsoft Edge to prevent any potential privacy violations.
You can disable the “follow creators” feature by following the below steps:
- Open the Edge menu (Alt + F) and select Settings.
- On the left, click on Privacy, Search and Services
- In the right pane, scroll to Services
- Then, toggle off the switch beside ‘Show suggestions to follow creators in Microsoft Edge’ option.
Keep watching this space for more updates, as this is a developing story!