Facebook has confirmed that it actually uses phone numbers that users provided for security reasons to also target them with ads.
Specifically a phone number delivered for two-factor authentication (2FA) – a security technique that adds a second layer of authentication to help keep accounts secure.
The Facebook confession follows a story that Gizmodo published yesterday, related to the research work carried out by academics from two American universities who conducted a study in which they say they could demonstrate that the company uses pieces of personal information that people did not explicitly provide, however, orients them with advertisements.
While it has been, if not clear, at least evident – for a number of years that Facebook uses the contact data of people who never provided their information personally for advertising targeting purposes ( collection of personal data of other people, like other users) the mobile phone contact books that the Facebook application loads), the revelation that the numbers provided to Facebook by users in good faith, for the purpose of 2FA, also is, in his opinion, a fair game for the ads has not been so explicitly confessed before.
A few months ago, Facebook said that users who received spam with Facebook notifications to the number they provided for 2FA were wrong. "The last thing we want is for people to avoid useful security features because they fear receiving unrelated notifications," Alex Stamos, then CSO of Facebook, wrote in a blog post.
Apparently, I was not going to mention the relevant thing. Besides, I'm happy to reuse the same security feature for ad targeting.
Because $$$ s, presumably.
We ask Facebook to confirm that this is really what it is doing, to be doubly doubly sure. Because, srsly wtaf. And he sent us a statement confirming that he reuses the digits delivered by people who want to secure their accounts to focus on marketing.
Here is the statement, attributed to a Facebook spokesperson: "We use the information that people provide to provide a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads. We understand how we use the information we collect, including information on Contact that people upload or add to their own accounts You can manage and delete contact information that has been uploaded at any time. "
A spokesperson also told us that users can choose not to rethink their security digits by not using the 2FA phone number. (However, the company only added the ability to do 2FA without a mobile phone in May, so before everyone had no luck)
On the front of & # 39; hidden profiles & # 39; – Also known as Facebook, maintaining non-user profiles based on the data it has been able to obtain from users and other data sources, the company has also been less than transparent.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg feigned confusion when asked about the practice of US lawmakers earlier this year – stating that he only collects data on non-users for "security reasons."
It seems that Facebook is also using the (valid) security concerns of real users to expand their ability to target people with ads, using the numbers provided for 2FA should also carry out ad targeting.
It's safe to say that criticism of the company has been quick and sharp.
Soon, Facebook will also use technology behind the scenes means point ads to WhatsApp users, even though it also provides a secure encrypted security wrap around your real messages.
Stamos, now the former CSO of Facebook, has also defended his actions on that front.