Your Phone Number can now be used by Facebook to make you visible to almost everyone...and it's quite concerning!

Providing a phone number for 2-Factor-Authentication for securing Facebook accounts has been in practice for a long time now. However, it has recently been revealed that it is used for more than just security reasons. According to Jeremy Burge’s recent tweet, the phone numbers can now be used by others to look up one’s profile.

What’s even worse is that there is no way to back out of it as one’s phone number can be used to search their profiles either by everyone, their friends only or the friends of friends, there is no way to completely ghost it and prevent it from bringing up their accounts. Thus, the closest thing to privacy in such case is to restrict it to just “Friends”.
"Facebook now defaults phone number search to 'everyone'. Unless you change this setting, anyone with your phone number can look up and confirm your Facebook profile. Here's where to change it (and no you can't turn it off altogether if using for 2FA)", Tweeted Burge.
According to Facebook, such an option is used to help one connect to the people that they may know but aren’t friends with on Facebook. The revelation will likely put Facebook back in the hot waters as “looking up” profile with the help of a phone number can risk one’s Facebook account to a lot of privacy risks.

In addition to that, Burge also shared several interesting revelations about the 2FA in his tweet’s comment thread. The most interesting revelation was that Facebook now prompts the user to enter their phone number by stating that the number will be used for security purposes and “more”, with no limitations or set boundaries for “more”.

Burge also stated that Whatsapp shares the number with Facebook too, so even if one doesn’t entertain the 2FA request, there’s still a chance that Facebook manages to retrieve that particular user’s contact number. In addition to that, Facebook also shares the number with Instagram. Also (though it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone), the number is retrieved by advertisers.
Also Read: Leaked documents reveal Facebook’s global lobbying practices
To be honest, the situation is quite concerning as Burge implied that one phone number is used across multiple platforms for authentication, advertising, geolocation and many other purposes. Thus, basing the same number for security purposes may not be as wise move as it seems.

Facebook was quick to acknowledge the users’ concern. However, the social media giant doesn’t have a solution on hand to this problem yet. Get ready to hear a lot more about Facebook in the news in the upcoming days.

Facebook won't keep your two-factor phone number really private
Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Gettyimages

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