Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Sorry, but Facebook still wants you to share your phone number

Facebook is facing a new wave of criticism for two-factor authentication shenanigans Facebook is facing a new wave of criticism for two-factor authentication shenanigans
Wayne Curry | 05 March, 2019, 08:24

People can still search for you even after hiding your phone number when someone uploads your contact information to Facebook from their mobile phone but is way harder than using their phone number since facebook put up measures that limit how often people could search after being warned by security researchers that user account information could be scrapped by scammers.

To be fair to Facebook, you don't need to offer up a phone number to engage two-factor authentication.

If you have set up your Facebook account's 2FA with your phone number, Facebook isn't keeping that number to itself - this means that anyone can search for your profile using your number.

Users can hide their phone numbers so no one can see it, but that doesn't remove the ability for people to look you up using it.

But after doing a little digging, Emojipedia's Jeremy Burge has discovered a number of deeply disturbing things not many Facebook users might be aware of.

And what's even worse is that Facebook does a poor job at informing users how their 2FA number is used for other parts of the service. "Now it can be searched and there's no way to disable that". Last May, Facebook eliminated the requirement that you set up two-factor authentication via the addition of a phone number - so what's going on here, in other words, is that once you do add a number, it opens up a variety of ways for Facebook to use it.

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The firm introduced a way to use third-party authentication apps in lieu of phone numbers in May 2018.

In response to the growing outrage over Facebook's latest data misuse scandal, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch, "We appreciate the feedback we've received about these settings and will take it into account".

The social network previously removed the option to search for profiles by phone number after admitting "most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way".

Facebook also apparently shares numbers used for 2FA with its other services. Facebook also maintains that the setting isn't specific to any feature.

'For years Facebook claimed the adding a phone number for 2FA [two-factor authentication] was only for security, ' Burge tweeted. You can find the option in Settings under Privacy.

'The original FB phone number prompt never mentioned "and more", Burge adds. Despite telling people that phone numbers used for two-factor authentication (2FA) wouldn't be used for anything else, it's been revealed that the company also uses those numbers to help Facebook users find people's accounts, and there's no way to prevent that process.

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