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Facebook Admits Users’ Two-Factor Authentication Phone Numbers Used for Ad Targeting

Facebook Admits Users’ Two-Factor Authentication Phone Numbers Used for Ad Targeting

A report by Gizmodo from earlier this week suggested Facebook uses the phone number supplied by users for two-factor authentication to target those users with ads.

While Facebook has long used a user’s profile information to serve them with personalized ads. This includes mobile numbers included in a user’s profile. However, Gizmodo’s report indicated Facebook has targeted ads using the mobile number used for two-factor authentication.

While the social network initially denied that it would misuse security information, it now has admitted that it does in fact do what it has been accused of.

Facebook now, in a somewhat roundabout way, has admitted to doing this, in comments to TechCrunch:

We asked Facebook to confirm this is indeed what it’s doing — to make doubly doubly sure. Because, srsly wtaf. And it sent us a statement confirming that it repurposes digits handed to it by people wanting to secure their accounts to target them with marketing.

Here’s the statement, attributed to a Facebook spokesperson: “We use the information people provide to offer a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads. We are clear about how we use the information we collect, including the contact information that people upload or add to their own accounts. You can manage and delete the contact information you’ve uploaded at any time.”

A spokesman also told us that users can opt out of this ad-based repurposing of their security digits by not using phone number based 2FA.

Geez, Facebook. Unethical much?

In a nice example of “what goes around, comes around,” 9to5Mac reports a hacker says he will delete Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page this weekend, and will broadcast the “event” on Facebook Live!

Bloomberg reports that Taiwanese bug hunter Chang Chi-yuan has promised to do it on Sunday.

The event is scheduled for 6pm Taiwan time, which is 6am ET, 3am PT and a rather more civilised 11am in the UK, 1pm in Central European Summer Time. The livestream will be broadcast here, and you can keep an eye on Zuckerberg’s page here.

That makes it 5am where I live, so I’ll probably watch it all via replay, but it’ll be fun to watch.

Does this make you want to delete your Facebook profile, or do you feel the lack of privacy is worth the tradeoff of being able to stay in touch with friends and family? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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