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As pointed out by the folks over at TechCrunch, Facebook has now associated the phone numbers entered by users to secure their account with two-factor authentication with their profiles, essentially allowing anyone to look them up using their phone numbers.

The news follows a revelation in September 2018 that the social network used 2FA phone numbers for advertising purposes as well.

Outrage over Facebook's phone-number slurping was sparked on Friday by Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge, who publicly criticized Mark Zuckerberg's information-harvesting operation for making users searchable via phone numbers submitted for the ostensible objective of account security. Facebook also acknowledged the concern by stating, "We appreciate the feedback we've received about these settings and will take it into account".

It is worth noting that Facebook set the "look up" settings to Everyone by default.

Pretty much all the companies that deal with user data often encourage users to opt-in Two-factor authentication (2FA).

The good news is that while you can't opt out, you can control who can look up your profile using your phone number.

Facebook offers no way to opt out of that phone number search feature.

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'Now it can be searched and there's no way to disable that'.

In a statement, Facebook addressed some of Burge's criticisms: "We've been hearing questions about two-factor authentication and phone number settings on Facebook". Your phone number becomes a bridge across services, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

'The original FB phone number prompt never mentioned "and more", Burge adds.

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.

"This isn't a mistake now, this is clearly an intentional product choice", he said via Twitter, adding that Facebook needs someone in the product design chain advocating for security.

To be fair, though, anyone who's upset by this should be aware that Facebook very likely already had their number anyway, via the way it builds out its trove of connections between users - the way, for example, your friends may have uploaded their contacts, including you in that pile. "[Facebook] can't credibly require 2FA for high-risk accounts without segmenting that from search and ads", he said. That's a goal Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has reportedly been pursuing for years, as a recently revealed cache of documents suggests.


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