Facebook Separates Security Feature From Friend Suggestions

Facebook will stop using the phone numbers that users provide for two-factor authentication to recommend friends to them as part of the “You Can Know Them” feature. It is reported by Reuters, citing a representative of the social network.

New rules are already in force in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Libya and Cambodia. Throughout the rest of the world, changes will take effect in early 2020. At the same time, the numbers that are already linked will not be affected – users will need to delete and re-link the number for two-factor authentication so that the social network stops using it for the search function for possible friends.

Facebook Separates Security Feature From Friend Suggestions
Image by CPO Magazine

The innovation is part of a set of changes to the privacy policy in the framework of the agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which in July 2019 fined Facebook $ 5 billion due to violations of the rules for storing user data: among other things, the company was accused of not indicating that the phone numbers indicated during two-factor authentication will be used for advertising purposes.

Officials also demanded that the social network stop this vicious practise and “reconsider the approach to protecting user data” – by the way, Facebook fulfilled the first requirement back in June this year, and users did not have to reassign their phone numbers.

It is noteworthy that the experts, although they found the changes in the function “You can know them” to be correct, nevertheless, called them insufficient. According to Jenny Gebhart, a researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “the abuse of phone numbers” is still not completely eradicated: for example, the account of the desired user can still be found by the phone number that he uses for two-factor authentication.

Source: VC

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