Facebook is abusing users' 2FA phone numbers for targeted advertising

The number you provided for security purposes was shopped out for a few bucks and the company knows you won't do anything about it.

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In the age of social media, any expectation of privacy that users may still hold is likely nothing more than wishful thinking. Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social media network and they leverage their oceans of private user data to make money. In recent years, the company has urged users to enable two-factor authentication in order to provide additional account security. What they weren’t telling us is that the phone numbers that users provided for security purposes were being dumped off to advertisers.

Gizmodo broke the story on Facebook’s use of your shadow contact information for monetary gain on Wednesday, and, predictably, users on social media are not happy. Facebook admitted to its shady use of your information in a statement to TechCruch today, “We use the information people provide to offer a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads," a Facebook spokesperson said. "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."

Earlier today, the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users was compromised in a security breach. Whether the information is stolen by hackers or brazenly sold to the highest bidder by Facebook, any information directly or indirectly submitted to these companies should never be considered private.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    September 28, 2018 11:35 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Facebook is abusing users' 2FA phone numbers for targeted advertising

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      September 28, 2018 6:49 PM

      Shocking, that's why I never link any phone numbers to anything if possible

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        September 28, 2018 7:27 PM

        I think this is really a Facebook problem. They're trash.

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      September 28, 2018 7:00 PM

      I cant uninstall facebook from my android phone because its a "system app"... wtf?

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        September 28, 2018 7:06 PM

        Rooooooot

        You can also disable it.

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          September 28, 2018 7:15 PM

          that's just nuts that I have to root to uninstall it. last I heard Facebook was not Google/Andorid, so why is it a 'system app'?

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            September 28, 2018 7:17 PM

            It's not a system app on stock android and unlocked phones, as far as I know. Your carrier may bundle it.

            In any case, just go to settings-apps, open it, and disable it.

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              September 28, 2018 7:18 PM

              done. thanks

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                September 28, 2018 7:22 PM

                Just in case you don't know, in that same app list you can also set per app permissions and notification options in later Android versions.

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              September 28, 2018 7:43 PM

              It's definitely a carrier or manufacturer *coughSamsungcough* bundle.

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                September 28, 2018 7:46 PM

                I always tell myself I'm going to try to keep things stock for a bit whenever I get a new phone, but I always end up rooting within like 5 minutes because of the bundled stuff.

                My U11 was my first unlocked phone, and there wasn't much at all in the way of bloat. I rooted anyway because HTC makes it so damned easy.

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                  September 28, 2018 7:52 PM

                  My Android phones have been HTC, Nexus, and OnePlus, in that order. The HTC was the farthest from stock Android, and it wasn't too bad. (It was also from the era when stock Android kinda sucked.) The Nexus phones were stock, obviously, and the OnePlus is reasonably close.

                  I actively avoid Samsung in particular due to how much they love swirling their dick in the OS.

                  If NVidia decided to make a Shield phone, I would probably do a happy dance. They've done shockingly good jobs with the OSes on their Shield devices.

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                September 28, 2018 7:48 PM

                Yup, not going to find that on a Pixel or 1+ or something.

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            September 28, 2018 7:31 PM

            It's not Android/Google, Facebook has made a deal with either the OEM who makes your phone or the carrier you bought it from. The deal probably requires that the app not be uninstallable.

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            September 28, 2018 7:33 PM

            Welcome to Android.

            Not being snarky, it’s a carrier who has made Facebook not optional, but the fact that it’s possible is due to Android.

            But on iOS we have things like the Apple Watch app you can’t get rid of. Well, now you can but it’s really just hiding the icon.

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              September 28, 2018 9:05 PM

              This is part of why I always get an unlocked phone (well the biggest reason is to avoid getting a long term contract...I like knowing that I could change carriers at any moment with no penalty even if I likely won't (because Verizon's coverage is spotty in my area and non-existant in many places (including a large part of the building I work in...and Sprint is even worse regarding where I work which is why I ended up dropping Republic and going with AT&T...not a big fan of AT&T but they do have the least terrible coverage in most of the places I am likely to be).

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      September 28, 2018 7:27 PM

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/28/technology/facebook-hack-data-breach.html

      I'm so glad I hard deleted Facebook.

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      September 28, 2018 7:31 PM

      https://i.imgur.com/8OOfVjh.gif