By now, everyone should know that Facebook uses your personal information to personalise ads especially for you — but instead of feeling flattered, people feel their privacy has been invaded. With good reason… because now we know that if you choose to (sensibly) add two-factor authentication via your phone number, Facebook uses that same phone number to help target ads at you.
For example, if you include your mobile number in your profile, and you also provided your number to an online store, the two numbers can be matched so the store can identify you as a customer. You know what happens next… you get an ad for those limited edition translucent Converse you cannot afford anyway.
In Facebook’s defence, if you put something on the internet of your own free will (like linking it to a Facebook account or filling in a form on the Mr Price website — that’s on you. The internet isn’t the most secure place for personal information. And remember, it is possible to remove information from your Facebook account.
But it’s also not like it’s easy to avoid handing over the info. Just ask anyone who’s ever used Facebook Messenger and had to contend with the barrage of requests to enable notifications, use the app for SMS message or, yes, add their phone number.
In related news, a hacker says he will delete Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page this weekend – and that he will, amusingly, broadcast it on Facebook Live. The deletion is planned for Taiwan time, which is 6am ET, which is a more respectable 12pm on Sunday 30 September in South Africa.