01 May 2023

The Verge: “Microsoft Edge is leaking the sites you visit to Bing”

Searching for references to this URL give very few results, no documentation on this feature at all, said hackermchackface, the Reddit user who first discovered the issue. While Reddit users weren’t able to uncover why Microsoft Edge is sending the URLs you visit to its Bing API site, we asked Rafael Rivera, a software engineer and one of the developers behind EarTrumpet, to investigate, and he discovered it’s part of a poorly implemented new feature in Edge.

Microsoft Edge now has a creator follow feature that is enabled by default, says Rivera in a conversation with The Verge. 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.

Until Microsoft completes its investigation and presumably patches this problem, we’d highly recommend turning off the “follow creators” feature in Microsoft Edge. Chances are you never knew it existed and will never use it, so it’s not a function you’re likely to miss. To do so, navigate to Settings, choose the Privacy, Search and Services tab, and scroll down to Services. Toggle off the switch beside Show suggestions to follow creators in Microsoft Edge, and you should be fine.

Tom Warren

Well, this is what happens when you build too many features into a browser without enough testing – or frankly a solid reason for the feature to exist in the first place.

Microsoft Edge’s follow creator feature
Microsoft Edge’s follow creator feature. Image: Reddit (Leopeva64)

Another recent update to Collections has annoyed me as well, to the point that I might stop using Collections entirely. The new version hides my full list of collections behind a ‘See all’ button, in favor of showing useless suggestions, and while scrolling through a collection you no longer see the full title of the links as before, instead you have to hover over each item and wait for a tooltip to appear. This adds constant, unnecessary friction and bloat, and ruins Collections for me. Others have complained about existing features being stripped from this supposedly updated version, such as the formatting options in Notes and sending to Word and Excel. Seems like Microsoft doesn’t understand what made the feature appealing in the first place and is once again throwing stuff in that have been done better elsewhere – in this case on Pinterest.

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