FORMER FAVOURITE social network turned social pariah Facebook has added another notch on its belt of shame after seemingly taking advantage of the vogue for two-factor-authentication to do a bit more data mining.
The tech giant with the heart of mould has been keenly encouraging people to secure their account with two-factor authentication. One of the most popular ways of doing this is by getting Facebook to send you a text message when you login.
That means giving Facebook your phone number, even if you have previously opted not to include it on your profile.
Now, it transpires that Facebook is using that information you gave in good faith for reasons that you weren't expecting.
If you opt to use SMS based 2FA, users can, it turns out, look up your profile, using your phone number. So the price you pay for security is a huge dent in your privacy.
Now, theoretically, this kind of security feature should be treated as an entirely separate entity to submitting it for site content. But Facebook, being Facebook, somewhere along the line has decided that it should be allowed access to it for the rest of the site too unless its on display.
Don't go thinking you can turn the feature off, either. Although you can tailor it to only be accessible by "friends" or "friends of friends" - as opposed to the whole goddam world, there's no way of making it available to nobody at all - which is a massive betrayal of trust in an ever growing list.
Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia first brought the problem to light, pointing out that although Facebook has quietly pointed out that it will use the data for ‘security and other things', this only happened in September 2018, long after many people will have already signed up to 2FA.
There are alternatives - using the in-built code generator app, or one of the various Authenticator apps for mobile, or a FIDO key, such as those made by our friends at Yubico.
If you've already given them your number though, good luck getting it removed and forgotten.
It may be that this might be another trigger moment to remove Facebook - but for most, the damage is done. μ
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