Microsoft’s Edge browser has a relatively recent on-by-default feature that allows you to “follow content creators” in Edge itself. If you follow lots of channels or individual users across multiple websites, the feature promises to create a site-agnostic feed for updates from those creators that you can access in one place, plus a way to save videos and other files to your Collections. To drive more people to use the feature, it’s also designed to show you suggestions about creators you could be following.
The problem is that this feature may be sending information about every single site you visit in Edge to Microsoft. Reddit user hackermchackface says that as of Edge version 112.0.1722.34 (released on April 7), the browser sends the full URL of any site you visit to a Microsoft-owned “bingapis.com” domain, including locally hosted URLs and IP addresses. Older versions of the browser would only send this information to bingapis.com if you were on a site supported by the content-follower feature, like Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube.
Developer Rafael Rivera, speaking to The Verge, said that the feature intended to only notify Bing when you were on specific sites you had elected to follow but that “it doesn’t appear to be working correctly, instead sending nearly every domain you visit to Bing.”
Microsoft said it is “aware of reports” about the URL-leaking issue and that the company “will take appropriate action to address any issue.”
Like many of Edge’s more annoying pop-up-generating features, all of the creator-following features can be disabled in the Edge settings by going to the Privacy, Search, and Services section and scrolling all the way down. While many settings in Edge can be synced between different computers if you’re signed in with a Microsoft Account, these settings (along with the default search engine) usually need to be manually changed on every computer you use Edge on.