Facebook Uses Your 2FA Phone Number for Targeted Advertising

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Being stalked from one website to another by persistent advertising is a real issue, but some companies, like Apple, have made strides to try and reduce its impact.

But targeted advertising isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, especially if Facebook has any say in the matter. The company has recently confirmed that it does indeed go to some pretty great lengths to provide information to advertisers, with this latest effort definitely one of the social networking giant’s worst.

A couple of days ago, Gizmodo ran a piece that outlined how Facebook uses the phone number some users added to take advantage of two factor authentication as a way to target those same individuals with ads. This is an extension of how Facebook already handles phone numbers saved to the platform’s profiles.

How it works normally is if you add your phone number to your Facebook profile, and then add your phone number to some online retailer’s online presence, those two sources can match and be used to target advertisements as you peruse the web. Facebook has said in the past that it doesn’t use security details in this way, but that is definitely not true, as the company has changed its tune in a statement to TechCrunch:

“We use the information people provide to offer a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads. 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.”

A spokesman also told us that users can opt out of this ad-based repurposing of their security digits by not using phone number based 2FA. (Albeit, the company only added the ability to do non-mobile phone based 2FA back in May, so anyone before then was all outta luck.)”

Our Take

So, Facebook uses your security details in an effort to lock down even more advertising efforts. Crazy to think that’s a thing, because it’s hard to imagine that even Facebook would do something like this. But here we are in 2018 and this is our reality now. The fact that Facebook says if users don’t want to get targeted advertising they need to remove their phone number from 2FA security efforts is bananas.

[via Gizmodo; TechCrunch]