Facebook is giving your shadow content to advertisers in a very inconspicuous and unobvious way. The social media giant is using a hidden layer of details they have stored about you. Gizmodo has come to call this: “shadow contact information.”
You might assume that you could go to your Facebook profile and look at your “contact and basic info” page to see what email addresses and phone numbers are associated with your account, and thus what advertisers can use to target you. But as is so often the case with this highly efficient data-miner posing as a way to keep in contact with your friends, it’s going about it in a less transparent and more invasive way.
Facebook is not content to use the contact information you willingly put into your Facebook profile for advertising. It is also using contact information you handed over for security purposes and contact information you didn’t hand over at all, but that was collected from other people’s contact books, a hidden layer of details Facebook has about you that I’ve come to call “shadow contact information.” I managed to place an ad in front of Alan Mislove by targeting his shadow profile. This means that the junk email address that you hand over for discounts or for shady online shopping is likely associated with your account and being used to target you with ads. -Gizmodo
One of the most obvious ways that Facebook ads in your newsfeed is the social networking giant allows an advertiser to upload a list of phone numbers or email addresses it has on file. It will then put an ad in front of accounts associated with that contact information. But according to the report by Gizmodo, this is just an obvious way and one of the many Facebook continues to violate your privacy rights. The social media giant is essentially spying on you every second of every day.
Researchers discovered that when a user gives Facebook a phone number for two-factor authentication or in order to receive alerts about new log-ins to a user’s account, that phone number became targetable by an advertiser within a couple of weeks, according to the report by Gizmodo. That means that those users who want their accounts to be more secure are forced to make a privacy trade-off and allow advertisers to more easily find them on the social network.
Facebook stopped making a phone number mandatory for two-factor authentication four months ago, but not many may know about this new change.
For more detailed information on how Facebook is using your private information, aka, “shadow contact information,” click here to read the entire in-depth report by Gizmodo.