Facebook faces backlash over users' safety phone numbers
Facebook has been accused of abusing a security feature in order to weaken user privacy, after the social network was found using phone numbers initially handed over for account safety for other purposes. The company now faces criticism that it will be harder to convince users to take other necessary security measures if users view this as an abuse of trust. Since 2011, Facebook has asked users for their phone numbers in order to enable “two-factor authentication”, a common account security feature that sends a text message whenever a login is attempted. The social network even required the feature to be used by the moderators of large Facebook pages, telling them they had to hand over a phone number in order to prevent the page from being easily stolen by a canny hacker. But in the years after the social network first enabled two-factor authentication, Facebook began to use the phone numbers users had provided for other purposes. Now, users who once added their phone number for security are faced with a privacy setting that asks them who can look them up using that number. Similarly, Facebook shares that information with Instagram, encouraging users to update their profiles on its sister service if they have a new phone number on the main Facebook app.
Facebook faces backlash over users' safety phone numbers Facebook scolded for how it protects user phone numbers for security (USA Today)