Facebook has indicated it will stop using customers’ phone numbers as part of its two-factor authentication (2FA) security tool to recommend new friends to add, Reuters reported.
Essentially that meant that Facebook was, at one point, using your number that you gave to protect your account to encourage you to add members from your address book.
The social media giant said that after reaching a $5 million USD (about $6.5 million CAD) settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in the summer over its privacy practices, it was making broader changes.
Part of that settlement meant that Facebook was no longer allowed to generate phone numbers for 2FA for advertising. The new change now extends further to that, albeit the FTC did not ask this as a requirement.
Michel Protti, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said to Reuters that this change was done after a review was conducted in August. The review, he said, was to make sure “the system updates supporting our privacy statements were done correctly.
“[It] adds more layers of process and [rigour] to vetting our technical work to make sure our public statements match our operations,” he said.
The new change, however, will only take effect in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Libya, and Cambodia as of now and will globally roll out next year.
It is good that Facebook is taking the steps necessary to protect users’ information, however just yesterday, security researchers determined that 267 million Facebook users’ phone numbers, names and user IDs were exposed in a database. While the database has since been removed, researchers question if Facebook is taking all the necessary precautions necessary to not put people at risk of facing phishing and spam campaigns.