The social media giant, Facebook has told Reuters that the company will no longer use phone numbers provided by users for two factor verification to show friend suggestions.
This is happening after the recent crackdowns on these tech giants over privacy concerns and users also coming forward over concerns of their data being used in ways they are not comfortable with. Last year it was revealed that Facebook used personal data it obtained from users to target related advertisements to them.
Although according to the company it stopped using this information for ad suggestions in June and is now moving on to friend suggestions and will stop using this personal data for that purpose as well and separate it.
After the US government probe into these tech giants, Facebook came to a $5 billion settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to focus more on users data privacy.
The FTC order specifically stated that Facebook failed to confirm whether two factor verification data would be used for the purpose of advertisements, is still pending approval in court. Facebook just said that it was all part of it’s security tools.
The chief privacy officer for Facebook, Michel Protti said that these changes that being done to two factor verification are just part of the changes since the company will now be focusing more on privacy.
The new update to Facebook will be rolling out to some countries first before being rolled out globally. The countries to get it first are, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Libya and Cambodia. This will be rolling out to these countries this week and then will be extended to more countries. The new update will prevent Facebook from using phone numbers for two factor authentication to be used for friend suggestions.
However, unlike the exclusion of phone numbers for advertisement purposes, thi s new change will not affect current users but only those signing up to Facebook. For current users to exclude their numbers from friend suggestions, they would need to remove their number from two-factor authentication and add it again.
According to Protti, Facebook conducts a detailed review of the new changes to the system to make sure that:
he system updates supporting our privacy statements were done correctly,
adds more layers of process and rigor to the vetting of our technical work to make sure our public statements match our operations.
he further said:
The beefed-up reviews of new products aim to minimize any data collected, document where the data goes and provide sufficient transparency around how products work .
The spokesperson added that this will change the way Facebook phrased information for users about the update but Facebook did not make it clear on how this was being altered.
Quarterly privacy certifications are to be signed to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by both, Protti and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and Chief Executive of Facebook.
Protti said that an assessment done in August about the security risks has been completed and has started working towards resolving those risks.
Although he declined to share the findings of this assessment but did say that it involved making policies more clear and invest in training and make sure there is a stronger control over the data that flows through Facebook.
Facebook is likely to continue with these policies changes due to the recent privacy concerns about it’s service around the world even in the UK.