For billions of internet users, the phone number is the key to unlock their digital profiles. The Facebook users, however, find it more annoying that their number could be used to ‘look into’ users’ profile and take over their personal information which is highly infectious and intolerable. Despite claiming to use phone number only for two-factor authentication (2FA) process to secure users’ account, anyone can use a phone number as the granted key to search Facebook users’ profile.
Suprised! Let’s dig deep into it!
The social media Hercules Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been persistently directing their users to add their phone number as a part of the security feature. But this has led to utter chaos as many users received a non-security-related SMS notification after signing up for the two-factor authentication (2FA) security feature. Recently in 2018 Facebook was coerced to profess that a user’s phone number is fabricated to target the Ads.
The debate on Facebook’s real objective behind collecting phone number started with a tweet from Jeremy Burge, who exposed how the phone number could be used to look up your profile on Facebook.
For years Facebook claimed the adding a phone number for 2FA was only for security. Now it can be searched and there's no way to disable that. pic.twitter.com/zpYhuwADMS
— Jeremy Burge 🐥🧿 (@jeremyburge) March 1, 2019
According to Facebook’s help content, the user’s contact information can be customized according to the user’s preferences. But the most tangled factor is that one cannot hide it completely or don’t have the option to avoid it on the whole.
Facebook Currying Users’ Phone Number:
Facebook manipulates the users’ data with the phone number as a security feature according to the security expert Zeynep Tufekci. Intruders would get easy access to evade the details of billions of users’ other accounts associated with the same phone number. Needs for marketing could pave way for data breaching and other privacy issues.
“Criminals abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery” Facebook stated.
How to hide your number on Facebook?
In April 2018 after face trials with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook said it has taken steps to limit the data availability to third-party apps. Facebook has pronounced that there will be a mode of changes to be adapted on how it handles user data, including disabling the ability to find other Facebook users by “Look up” for their phone number.
In order to keep your Privacy Mode ON your can change your “Look Up” settings for “friends only” but the default option would be “everyone”. However, Facebook suggests no change in that obviously because by making it visible to everyone you can make new Friends!.
- However, if you are still willing to remove your phone number from Facebook, here are two steps process:
- First, check if your phone number is added by visiting this link,
- If, it is, just click on the Remove Phone Number.
This, however, will also remove your 2FA authentication as well. Instead of surrendering your phone number to Facebook, which can be abused for any purpose, it’s advisable to use Google Authenticator, which doesn’t need your phone number at all.
Ways and Means of Target Ads
Ever since the acquisition in 2014, WhatsApp, which operates primarily on users’ phone number, has been sharing its data with its parent company Facebook. Now the Facebook would spool the data from your friends’ address book and upload your information in the network. By this way, phone number becomes available for marketing purposes. This leads hijackers to caught hold of the users with spam SMS and other marketing promotions.
Mashable has asked Facebook if they are allowing its users to disable the ‘phone number lookup‘ and ‘email address lookup‘ anytime soon but didn’t hear anything from the company yet.
Facebook continuously facing turmoil but still combating the market is Facebook’s crafty sarcasm.