Confirmed: Facebook Is Spying On Your Phone

Do you utilize Facebook’s two-factor authentication? If so, Facebook has confirmed that the phone numbers you provide for security purposes are also being utilized for ad targeting.

Two-factor authentication, an important security feature that helps protect your page from being hacked, is considered a best practice. However, the social media giant had not yet disclosed that the information provided is used for advertising purposes, until now. This is a major breach according to privacy experts.

Gizmodo made a compelling case in a story published Wednesday. They detailed how computer scientists were able to demonstrate that phone numbers supplied to Facebook specifically for security purposes can be used by marketers to target consumers. For instance, a marketer needs only the phone number you provided to Facebook in order to target you with their ads. This level of targeting has been possible for quite some time with email addresses.

Facebook confirmed these suspicions with the following statement:

“We use the information people provide to offer a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads. We are clear about how we use the information we collect, including the contact information that people upload or add to their own accounts. You can manage and delete the contact information you’ve uploaded at any time.”

While you may find this creepy, it’s not unexpected. Google, Facebook, Apple and myriads of other companies make substantial caches of data available to marketers. Most of the time this data isn’t individually identifiable and includes interests, browsing history, location data and basic social media profile information. This is why so many of those ads you see seem so ridiculously relevant to you.