In early 2018, it was revealed that Facebook was using the phone number you gave it for 2-factor authentication to for ad targetting. The FTC barred them from misusing users phone numbers but Facebook is still sending spammy texts to users. The social media giant had been aggressively asking its users via security prompts to log in to the platform after losing up to 2.8 million users in 2017 in the USA through the phone number and email you provided the network with.
The FTC barred Facebook from using 2FA phone numbers for ad targeting, not specifically for notifications like this. (I think.)
BUT. THIS. IS. NOT. WHY. PEOPLE. SIGN. UP. FOR. TWO. FACTOR. AUTHENTICATION.
THIS IS VERY GROSS AND BAD. https://t.co/PYQAGETvuZ
— Shira Ovide (@ShiraOvide) July 29, 2019
The Mark Zuckerberg-owned platform then started using the phone number provided to send unnecessary notification texts especially if you’ve stayed off Facebook for a while.
Abusing a security technology like 2FA by turning it into a marketing opportunity is pretty much the most short-term clever, long-term foolish thing Facebook could do. https://t.co/fv6ASJKK5S
— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) February 14, 2018
Facebook is not only abusing your phone number to send annoying notification texts but also uses it to match you with “People You May Know” suggestions.
How do I opt-out?
Head to Settings then Notifications and toggle off text notifications.
Here’s how to reduce the amount of data Facebook collects from your profile for ad targetting.