Just when you thought that Facebook couldn’t get any more greasy, they have outdone themselves in a manner that places them well beyond even the most succulent of French Chef finger-kisses: the phone numbers that many folks gave them in order to activate the service’s two-factor authentication protection? Zuckerberg and his crew are using it to serve up advertisements to unsuspecting users.
Facebook’s confession follows a story Gizmodo ran a story yesterday, related to research work carried out by academics at two U.S. universities who ran a study in which they say they were able to demonstrate the company uses pieces of personal information that individuals did not explicitly provide it to, nonetheless, target them with ads.
While it’s been — if not clear, then at least evident — for a number of years that Facebook uses contact details of individuals who never personally provided their information for ad targeting purposes (harvesting people’s personal data by other means, such as other users’ mobile phone contact books which the Facebook app uploads), the revelation that numbers provided to Facebook by users in good faith, for the purpose of 2FA, are also, in its view, fair game for ads has not been so explicitly ‘fessed up to before.
The best part of all of this is that, according to TechCrunch, Facebook had the chance to confess to their shitty behavior some time ago when it was revealed that users who submitted a phone number for 2FA purposes were being spammed with texts ads sent to their smartphones. But nah: instead of owning their bullshit, the company’s ex-CSO, Alex Stamos, said that the ads were being sent out due to a bug.
Apparently, it is possible to opt out of Facebook’s bullshit use of your phone number by digging into your account’s security settings and selecting a 2FA method that doesn’t involve your phone number.
In 2014, Facebook bought the messaging system Whatsapp for $22B; it was a weird fit, because Whatsapp founders had decried Facebook’s surveillance-based business model and targeted advertising, and had promised its users “No ads, no games, no gimmicks.”
Facebook’s terms of service require users to use their real names; though thiis has lots of potential downsides (including allowing dictators to identify and round up opposition figures), you’d hope that it would at least be evenly applied — for example, to law enforcement agencies like the Memphis Police Department, who use “Bob Smith” accounts […]
Facebook usage is falling in the US and Canada, especially among young people, but it’s still dominating the internet overseas, especially in countries where Zero Rating is legal.
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