Facebook doesn't allow phone number 'look up' opt-out

Facebook doesn't allow phone number 'look up' opt-out

Facebook doesn't allow phone number 'look up' opt-out

Facebook allows people to search for profiles using phone numbers linked to a particular account, even if you've chosen to hide this information from the public.

While Facebook users can limit who is able to search for their profiles using a phone number, you can't opt out of it entirely. All you can do is restrict the information to the eyes of your Facebook "friends" or "friends of friends" rather than "everyone". As of May a year ago, Facebook began providing support for 2FA without a phone number via authenticator apps. When Facebook originally rolled out 2FA, there was no indication that the phone numbers they were collecting would be used for advertising or tied to a user's profile.

'Facebook 2FA numbers are also shared with Instagram which prompts you "is this your phone number?" once you add to FB, ' Burge added. Profiles can also be searched by phone number in the Messenger app. "Now it can be searched and there's no way to disable that". From there, click on the "privacy" tab and you'll find the setting in question under the "how people find and contact you" banner.

To be fair to Facebook, you don't need to offer up a phone number to engage two-factor authentication.


A Facebook spokesperson simply told TechCrunch how the feature is not new, and how it affects all other phone numbers that you add on your Facebook account, not just the number you use for 2FA.

In a statement, Facebook addressed some of Burge's criticisms: "We've been hearing questions about two-factor authentication and phone number settings on Facebook". Researchers from Princeton University and Northeastern University in the USA a year ago examined how Facebook uses personally identifiable information supplied by users. The social network even required the feature to be used by the moderators of large Facebook pages, telling them they had to hand over a phone number in order to prevent the page from being easily stolen by a canny hacker.

"This isn't a mistake now, this is clearly an intentional product choice", he said via Twitter, adding that Facebook needs someone in the product design chain advocating for security.

The world's most popular social network has become by far the most controversial tech company too lately, taking a lot of flak for exploiting pretty much every single dubious data harvesting and user privacy violating trick in the book. "[Facebook] can't credibly require 2FA for high-risk accounts without segmenting that from search and ads", he said.

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