If users haven’t already become used to Facebook and its privacy scandals, here is another one. The social media company is now accused of using the phone numbers that users submitted for two-factor authentication to further its own advertising dreams.
To elaborate on the issue, Facebook actively encouraged its members to submit their phone numbers where a secret code could be sent whenever the company detected a log-in attempt from a different device. Of course, the number was supposed to be private though Facebook being Facebook, the simply couldn’t let go of the lure to use the number for targeted advertising purposes.
Facebook is also allowing anyone to search using the phone number of a user; this when the phone numbers are meant solely to send two-factor authentication codes and not for public search. If that isn’t all, there is no way users can opt out of this mess any more as there isn’t any option for the user to prevent Facebook from misusing their phone numbers.
The best that users can do here is to let only their friends view the numbers instead of ‘everyone’. To do that, users will need to click on Settings > Privacy. There under Privacy Setting and Tools, there is the sub-section How People Find and Contact You. There, for the particular setting Who can look you up using the phone number you have provided?, the options available include Friends and Friends of friends, apart from Everyone of course. Users can make their choice accordingly.
Not surprisingly, Facebook seemed unmoved by the revelation and has said this is something that has been going on for years now. Facebook also tried to justify their stance claiming this applies to any phone number that users include in their profile and not the only one entered for two-factor authentication purpose. The company also said they would take into account the feedback they have thus received so far but hasn’t promised any changes to be made right away based on those.