Facebook Users Can Be Found By Phone Number, According To New Report

Disabling This Facebook Phone Number Setting is Not an Option

All phone numbers entered will apparently be automatically added to a person's Facebook profile.

But, it was not previously clear that this also includes numbers provided to the site only for security reasons.

To cap it off, Burge suggests this new reliance on the phone number is Facebook's reaction to data regulations like GDPR.

A company spokesperson told CNN Business the feature is supposed to make it easier to find people you know but aren't yet friends with on Facebook. And in this instance, you can use an Authenticator app for 2FA approval instead of your phone number, an option Facebook rolled out in May.

In response, Facebook said the feature isn't a new one, and that it has taken steps to protect users' privacy. There is apparently no option to disallow the sharing of a particular user's phone number and email address.

According to a TechCrunch report, a tweet by Jeremy Burge revealed Facebook doesn't allow users to opt-out of having their phone number used to look them up. Mashable has reached out to Facebook to ask whether and when it may have made that "and more" change. Last fall, Gizmodo reported that mobile numbers submitted to Facebook for the purposes of two-factor authentication (2FA), as well as contact information pulled from friends' address books, are used to target ads. After adding the number Burge was unable to hide it, and it can be searched. 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. "Facebook shares phone numbers with advertisers", said Burge in a series of tweets. The great money-making engine of advertising, in other words, is apparently too important to let a thing like a user's protectiveness of their phone number get in the way.

'It was shown for MONTHS before a link was added in September 2018 clarifying "actually we'll use this wherever we damn well please"'.

Using phone numbers for two-factor authentication is common online, with users being sent a code via SMS, for instance, to identify that it's really them. Thus you can do multi-factor authentication with Facebook: remove the phone-based 2FA and reactivate it using an authenticator app. It also looks like Facebook isn't going to allow users to opt out as its core business is run by ads.

Security expert Zeynep Tufekci wrote, 'Using security to further weaken privacy is a lousy move- especially since phone numbers can be hijacked to weaken security.

This isn't the first phone number-related uproar for Facebook.

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