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Facebook Security Feature Revealed Users’ Phone Number to Others

Facebook "can't credibly require 2FA for high-risk accounts without segmenting that from search and ads", Stamos tweeted

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook is facing backlash over its secure login process two-factor authentication (2FA) where it asked users to add phone numbers, which can be searched by advertisers.

The security feature — meant solely to authenticate your identity on the social media platform – may have left your phone number open for others to see, even to advertisers to bombard you with their ads, USA Today reported on Monday.

The debate was initiated by Jeremy Burge, who runs the website Emojipedia, saying numbers added to use two-factor authentication were now searchable.

“Facebook 2FA numbers are also shared with Instagram which prompts you ‘is this your phone number?’ once you add to FB. WhatsApp also shares phone numbers with Facebook. Facebook shares phone numbers with advertisers,” said Burge in a series of tweets.

“For years Facebook claimed… adding a phone number for 2FA was only for security. Now it can be searched and there’s no way to disable that,” Burge added.

Last September, Gizmodo reported that Facebook also uses security information to target adverts.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

In a statement to the Guardian, Facebook said it has been receiving questions about two-factor authentication and phone number settings on Facebook.

“Two-factor authentication is an important security feature, and last year we added the option to set it up for your account without registering a phone number. Separately, the ‘Who can look me up?’ settings are not new and are not specific to two-factor authentication,a the statement read.

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“In April 2018, we removed the ability to enter another person’s phone number or email address into the Facebook search bar to help find someone’s profile.”

The 2FA security practice also drew criticism from Facebook’s former chief information security officer Alex Stamos.

Facebook “can’t credibly require 2FA for high-risk accounts without segmenting that from search and ads”, Stamos tweeted. (IANS)

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Facebook Apps Helped EU Firms Generate 208 bn Euros in Sales

The study also found that female-founded businesses, in particular, credit social media with helping them to start and grow their businesses

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook apps have helped businesses in the European Union (EU) generate sales corresponding to an estimated 208 billion euros last year – resulting in nearly 3.1 million jobs, the social networking giant said in a new report.

According to Facebook, around 25 million businesses in the European Union, mostly small businesses, are using its services each month.

“Businesses said that using Facebook apps helped them generate an estimated 98 billion euros in exports last year. Of these exports, 58 billion euros are sales within the EU and 40 billion euros are sales to the rest of the world,” Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice-President for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Facebook, said on Monday.

To understand the true extent of Facebook’s impact on the European economy, the company commissioned a study by Copenhagen Economics, one of the leading economic firms in Europe. The study surveyed over 7,700 businesses across all industries and sizes in 15 countries.

“This shows the critical role social media plays in driving sales for businesses across Europe. This is particularly true for small and medium sized businesses,” Mendelsohn added.

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The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Six in 10 companies said Facebook apps are important in lowering marketing costs and a similar number said Facebook apps are important in improving customer service.

“Six in 10 businesses using Facebook apps report them as helpful to enter markets, and 7 in 10 businesses using Facebook apps are exporting to other countries compared to 5 in 10 non-users,” the report mentioned.

Also Read: Skills Required To Become An Information Security Analyst

The study also found that female-founded businesses, in particular, credit social media with helping them to start and grow their businesses.

“Fifty-eight per cent of female-founded businesses surveyed said that Facebook apps are important for enabling them to start businesses, while 65 per cent said it helped grow their revenue,” said the report. (IANS)