Facebook uses phone numbers taken for 2FA for targeted advertising

Paawan Sunam
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According to a recent update, Facebook invades it’s users’ privacy, by using their phone numbers provided for 2FA for targeted advertising. They also use the users’ contact list which Facebook may or may not have access to, but shadows that contact information.

Two Factor Authentication(2FA) is an extra layer of security that not only requires a username and a password but also a piece of information that only the user would have on them like birth dates and more, in Facebook’s case it was the users’ phone number.

Advertising has been a part of the platform’s temperament since it’s conception with the motive of monetizing the platform. While it’s reasonable to monetize the platform to sustain, using unethical ways to target users by deceiving and exploiting them is not a business method but is more on the lines of a corrupt criminal activity.

A spokesman mentioned that users can opt out of this authentication by not using 2FA but the company only allowed it until after May 2018, so they would have had enough time to collect phone numbers and repurpose them for targeted advertising.

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Whenever apps are first installed they ask a set of permissions like access to contacts, files, and more. Usually, these permissions are asked to fulfil purposes like file-sharing. Facebook on the other side has used information to fulfill an immoral purpose.

Kashi Hill, a Gizmodo reporter explained that if a user shares their contacts with Facebook, the platform would then use the shared contacts to target them with ads. In this case, the target never provided them with information, forget about permitting them to use it, the target might not even be aware that Facebook has their information, let alone targeting them with ads. This depraved method of gaining audience is known as ‘shadow contact information’.

This is not the first time the company has invaded their users’ privacy or opted for shady tactics. There have been speculations of illicit use and sale of users’ data and more. If social media platforms use deception and disreputable methods, it’s users might rather wish to be anti-social.

Academic researchers from Northeastern University and Princeton University & Gizmodo reporters are to be thanked for using real-world tests and demonstrations to conclude Facebook’s devious methods.

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