As Reddit user found out, Microsoft browser Edge sends almost all URLs that its users visit to the Bing API website.
There is currently no official information on why Edge does this, but Rafael Rivera, one of the developers of the EarTrumpet system utility, who was addressed by The Verge editors with a request to help understand the incident, reported that it was caused by poor implementation of a new function in the browser.
“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,” explained Rivera.
Microsoft began testing this feature at the beginning of last year — then it was presented in preview builds of Edge in the form of a new “Follow this creator” button that appeared in the browser’s address bar when the user was on a YouTube page. Over the following months, this feature made its way to the release version of Edge.
Microsoft has the main filter on Bing APIs with URLs that have this feature blocked (like Pornhub) – and it looks like Edge is currently sending all URLs that its users visit that aren’t in this filter to bingapis.com.
Microsoft Communications Director Caitlin Roulston told The Verge that the company is “aware of reports, are investigating, and will take appropriate action to address any issues.”
In the meantime, the only way to force Edge to stop sharing your browsing history with the Bing API remains to disable creator tracking entirely. You can do this in the browser settings: Settings – Privacy, Search and Services – Services – Show suggestions to follow creators in Microsoft Edge.