Facebook will no longer feed user cellphone numbers provided to it for two-factor authentication into its “people you could know” feature, as a part of a wide-ranging reshuffle of its privacy practices, the company said.
Revelations in 2018 that Facebook was utilizing private data obtained for two-factor authentication to serve ads enraged privacy advocates, who called the practice misleading and said it eroded trust in vital digital security software.
It had already stopped permitting those cellphone numbers to be used for advertising purposes in June, the corporate stated, and is now beginning to increase that separation to friend suggestions.
Facebook initiated the updates in connection with its $5 billion agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which required it to boost safeguards on user data to resolve a government investigation into its privacy practices.
The FTC order, which is still awaiting approval in court, stated Facebook didn’t reveal that the cellphone numbers offered for two-factor authentication also could be used for advertising, and particularly barred that approach to safety tools.
Michel Protti, a long-time Facebook representative who took over as chief privacy officer for the product this summer and is leading the overhaul, said the two-factor authentication update was an instance of the company’s new privacy model at work.
The transformation – which is going to take place in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Libya Pakistan, and Cambodia this week and will be launched across the world early next year – will prevent cellphone numbers provided during sign-up for two-issue authentication from getting used to making friend suggestions.
Current users of the tool will not be affected; however, they can de-link their two-factor authentication numbers from the friend suggestion feature by removing them and including them again.