The safety feature – meant solely to authenticate your identity on the social media platform – might have left your telephone number open for other people 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, stating numbers added to use two-factor authentication proved now searchable.
“Facebook 2FA amounts 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 telephone numbers with advertisers,” said Burge at a series of tweets.
“For years Facebook maintained… adding a telephone number for 2FA was just for security. Now it could be searched and there is no way to disable that,” Burge added.
Last September, Gizmodo reported that Facebook also utilizes security advice to target ads.
In a statement to the Guardian, Facebook said it’s been getting questions regarding two-factor authentication and phone number settings on Facebook.
“Two-factor authentication is an important safety 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?’ Preferences are not new and aren’t unique to two-factor authentication,” the statement read.
“In April 2018, we removed the ability to enter another person’s telephone number or email address into the Facebook search bar to help find a person’s profile.”
Facebook”can not credibly require 2FA for high-risk accounts without segmenting that from search and ads,” Stamos tweeted.