Facebook Slammed For Listing Users' Phone Numbers 03/05/2019

Facebook Privacy

Twitter user @jeremyburge posted a damning series of tweets calling out the handling of user data (below), and the whole thread is worth reading: it rightly points out that "the default action to create a new account is no longer email or username; it's phone number".

Facebook has been accused of abusing a security feature in order to weaken user privacy, after the social network was found using phone numbers initially handed over for account safety for other purposes.

Ever secure your Facebook account using two-factor authentication? But this has led to utter chaos as many users received a non-security-related SMS notification after signing up for the two-factor authentication (2FA) security feature. There is apparently no option to disallow the sharing of a particular user's phone number and email address. However, researchers and users have discovered that Facebook was actually using the phone numbers they may have only provided for 2FA for more. An employee at the emoji-reference websites Emojipedia recently posted a screenshot of the phone number lookup feature, which showed exactly how Facebook is able to collect and use anyone's phone numbers including those used in two-factor authentications. Turns out that even if you hide your phone number on your profile, anyone can still search for you using this information. Two-factor authentication is an important security feature, and a year ago we added the option to set it up for your account without registering a phone number.

Facebook doesn't let you get rid of the look-up option entirely.

As per the given reports, In response to a tweet by a page administrator looking to this serious issue, several numbers of people forced Facebook to respond to users issue and problems and media reports.

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In a statement to the Guardian, Facebook said it has been receiving questions about two-factor authentication and phone number settings on Facebook. The company uses that unique ID, since it's tied to you, and can use it to sell ads, much as it does with everything else it knows about you. Your phone number becomes a bridge across services, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

In April 2018 after face trials with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook said it has taken steps to limit the data availability to third-party apps.

If, it is, just click on the Remove Phone Number.

Zeynep Tufecki, a leading security expert states "Using security to further weaken privacy is a lousy move - especially since phone numbers can be hijacked to weaken security". Two-factor or 2FA authentication in itself is a great way to ensure someone trying to hack you needs to clear several hurdles before doing so, but Facebook seems to have an ulterior motive for pushing you to better protect your account.

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