Facebook is continuing to move from one controversy to the next as its reputation takes a nosedive. The latest scandal to envelope the social network involves apparently using a security protocol to secretly take data from users.
In yet another example of Facebook invading the privacy of its users, the company is selling phone number data. This information is passed onto companies who use it for targeted advertising. We are beyond accusations too, as the company has admitted this.
Facebook confirmed it uses phone numbers to create user-specific ad content. Perhaps most alarming is the fact the company is using phone numbers supplied by users for two-step security authentication.
The statement from the Facebook spokesperson reads,
“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.”
Facebook may be able to use the same argument it always does when advertising on the network is discussed. The company points out that the service it provides is free of charge and advertising pays the bills.
Maybe so, but this is a different situation. For the most part, users understand the contract they have with Facebook and put up with advertising. However, it is clearly a breach of trust when a company does not say it will use a phone number before passing it on to ad agencies.
Facebook has taken a beating this year after it emerged data sold by the company to Cambridge Analytica was used to influence the outcome of US-based elections. We have seen major online giants fall before, so perhaps it is worth asking when users will begin to tire of Facebook's tactics?