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Facebook’s Using Phone Numbers for Ad Targeting. Here’s the Good & Bad.

Facebook’s Using Phone Numbers for Ad Targeting. Here’s the Good & Bad. Blog Feature

Katie Pritchard

VP of Services, 8+ Years of Client-Facing Project Management & Digital Marketing Expertise

October 1st, 2018 min read

You probably come across two-factor authentication (2FA) often.

It’s software asking you to put in a password AND something else only you would know, like a phone number, when logging into your account.

Are you nervous entering that information, wondering “what really happens with my data?”

Well, Facebook just confirmed your fears.

In a statement collected by Techcrunch on September 27th, Facebook stated:

“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.”

I guess we can give them kudos for being honest -- but, this information coupled with news that  50M Facebook accounts were attacked last week, doesn’t bode well for user privacy concerns.

With phone numbers and other sensitive information at risk, last week probably wasn’t the best time for an honest announcement about how Facebook uses their data.

You probably have some personal account concerns, but have you thought about how this 2FA data impacts your business?

The Business Impacts of 2FA Phone Numbers and Ads

Based on the way that Facebook confirmed the use of phone numbers to create a more personalized experience, we can deduce that this is probably getting us better results and data if running ads through the platform.

We all know that quality targeting is one of the most essential elements to a successful ad, and based on what Facebook is saying, we can assume that this data only helps produce better targeting of your audience.

So, if there’s one thing to take away from this announcement (other than that you might want to change your 2FA) it’s that this is probably helping your business’ ads.

But, don’t hop on Facebook and set up ads too quickly.

With the announcement of this news, Facebook has received a TON of backlash.

It would be wise to monitor the situation to see how Facebook responds, and if anything will come out of it. If the public affects this data collection in a negative way, we could see a shift in the success of targeting with ads.

Being that this would be yet another privacy issue for Facebook, it could rub people the wrong way and cause them to leave the platform altogether.

That being said, as a user:

If You Don’t Like Facebook Using 2FA Data…

If you’re uncomfortable with Facebook using your phone number for ads, you can change the type of two-factor authentication within your account.

You can find more information from Facebook on how to do this here.

Most importantly, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to online data.

Two-factor authentication is important for added layers of security, but if you’re uncomfortable sharing certain information (like your phone number), try a different route! A lot of software have single sign-on available now.

With so many conversations around data and security this year, it’s important to remember that there are personal and business effects for everything that’s happened. With Facebook seemingly in new hot water every few months, you may want to be careful about putting too many eggs in their basket. Pay close attention to your audience’s behavior on the platform (especially any changes) and adjust accordingly.

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