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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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Social Networking Giant Facebook Sharing Users’ Data with Telecom Firms, Phone Makers

The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers

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Facebook, photos
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

A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept has revealed that the social networking giant is offering private data of its users without their knowledge or consent to 100 different telecom companies and phone makers in 50 countries.

Confidential documents seen by the website showed late Monday that Facebook is helping operators and phone makers “create targeted advertising by supplying them with surveillance data slurped directly from users’ smartphones”.

Not only that, the social networking giant is also collecting data from its main iOS and Android apps, Messenger and Instagram apps — even snooping into the phones of children as young as 13.

Through a tool called “Actionable Insights”, Facebook is allegedly collecting data including technical details about smartphones, cellular and Wi-Fi networks used by Facebook users, locations visited social groups and interests.

Facebook reacted in a statement late Monday: “We do not, nor have we ever, rated people’s credit worthiness for Actionable Insights or across ads, and Facebook does not use people’s credit information in how we show ads”.

According to the report, “the data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads”.

Facebook launched “Actionable Insights” tool last year “to address the issue of weak cellular data connections in various parts of the world.”

“The confidential Facebook document shows how the programme, ostensibly created to help improve underserved cellular customers, is pulling in far more data than how many bars you’re getting,” said the report.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. VOA

“The Facebook mobile app harvests and packages eight different categories of information for use by over 100 different telecom companies in over 50 different countries around the world, including usage data from the phones of children as young as 13,” the report claimed.

These categories include use of video, demographics, location, use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, personal interests, device information, and friend homophily, an academic term of art.

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From these categories, a third party vendor could learn an extraordinary amount about patterns of users’ daily life.

The news came after Facebook’s photo-sharing service Instagram saw itself in trouble as personal data of millions of celebrities and influencers were allegedly exposed on its platform in a massive database that was traced to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox.

The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers, TechCrunch reported. (IANS)