Right after the Onavo VPN and paying teenagers in return for spying on them fiascos, Facebook is under fire again for allowing everyone to look up users with a phone number.
According to a TechCrunch report, a tweet by Jeremy Burge revealed Facebook doesn’t allow users to opt-out of having their phone number used to look them up.
It can be restricted to “Friends of friends” or just “Friends,” but the option default is “Everyone.”
Even if with no phone number listed on a user’s profile, a number used for two-factor authentication (2FA) will be associated and used for a look up search if it is available.
Facebook allows users to add phone numbers to their profile, but also encourages the use of a phone number for 2FA on their accounts.
Last year, it was discovered that the social network was allowing advertisers to target users by uploading information which Facebook could match against a phone number. This included numbers provided purely to allow 2FA to work.
Now it seems, the use of phone numbers is being extended to help others find you on the network and Facebook won’t allow users to prevent it from happening.
Burge goes on to point out in a later tweet that the 2FA phone number is also shared with Instagram and triggers a prompt asking “is this your phone number?” when you first add it to Facebook.
Facebook response to the look up setting allegations was a statement from spokesperson Jay Nancarrow saying, “the setting applies to any phone numbers you added to your profile and isn’t specific to any feature” and that the settings, “are not new.”
All Facebook accounts with any phone number listed, be that for 2FA or otherwise, can only restrict its use for look ups by changing the setting from “Everyone” to just “Friends.”
The option can be found in Settings under Privacy.