Bad news on the privacy front for Facebook. This time in the middle are the phone numbers entered by users for two-factor authentication
A great habit, able to increase the security of our Facebook account by a lot, is actually also used to violate our privacy. This is the two-factor authentication (2FA), which Facebook has admitted to have used for years to suggest friends based on our phone book.
But now (but not right away) Facebook will stop doing so, as reported by Reuters that has collected a statement from the same company Menlo Park. Facebook, in fact, would have taken this decision following the strong pressure received by the Federal Trade Commission of the United States, which led to a legal proceeding for violation of privacy closed with a fine of $ 5 billion, imposed last July to Facebook. The novelty in the use of our phone number, however, will not arrive in Italy until next year and, above all, comes directly from Facebook that, evidently, fears further fines for the way it handles our phone numbers.
2FA to suggest friends
Until now, by Facebook's own admission, our phone number as a second authentication factor was also used for "People you might know" suggestions. But this is a use not explicitly granted by the user, who gave the ok only to the use of the phone number for authentication. Facebook, fearing further fines, decided on its own to disconnect the phone number from the friendship suggestions.
What's changing (and when)
This change is already being applied to users in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Libya, Pakistan and Cambodia. For these users, the phone number and two-factor authentication are automatically disconnected. For everyone else, this new feature will not arrive until 2020 (date not yet specified). Users can disconnect their 2FA-granted phone number from friendship suggestions by removing that number from authentication factors and adding it back later. This way, when the phone number is entered a second time, it will also not be linked to the "People You Might Know" feature.