When 2FA means sweet FA privacy: Facebook admits it slurps mobe numbers for more than just profile security

www.theregister.co.uk | 3/4/2019 | Staff
boti (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/10/31/shutterstock_facebook_panic.jpg

Another week, another Facebook privacy storm.

This time, the Silicon Valley giant has been caught red-handed using people's cellphone numbers, provided exclusively for two-factor authentication, for targeted advertising and search – after it previously insinuated it wouldn't do that.

Folks - Numbers - Accounts - Takeovers - Hijackings

Folks handing over their mobile numbers to protect their accounts from takeovers and hijackings thought the contact detail would be used for just that: security. Instead, Facebook is using the numbers to link netizens to other people, and target them with online ads.

For example, if your friend Sarah has given her number to Facebook for two-factor authentication purposes, and you allow the Facebook app to access your smartphone's contacts book, and it sees Sarah's number in there, it will offer to connect you two up, even though Sarah thought her number was being used for security only, and not for search. This is not a particularly healthy scenario, for instance, if you and Sarah are no longer friends in real life, and yet you still have her number.

Online - Outcry - Weekend - Facebook - Spokesperson

Following online outcry over the weekend, a Facebook spokesperson told us today: "We appreciate the feedback we've received about these settings, and will take it into account."

Don't hold your breath.


Outrage over Facebook's phone-number slurping was sparked on Friday by Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge, who publicly criticized Mark Zuckerberg's information-harvesting operation for making users searchable via phone numbers submitted for the ostensible purpose of account security.

Years - Facebook - Phone - Number - Security

"For years Facebook claimed that adding a phone number for 2FA was only for security," he said via Twitter. "Now it can be searched and there's no way to disable that."

Facebook had partly disabled such phone-number searches in the past, preventing people from finding someone's profile directly from their number: in April 2018, the ad biz said it had switched off phone number search following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, citing abuse. "Until...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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