Facebook’s latest effort to dupe us for data

I recently, very begrudgingly, rejoined Facebook.

I did it solely to participate in a work-related private group, where annoyingly, the only opportunity to be involved was via Facebook.

I deliberately used a shortened version of my name when I created my account, and I have avoided adding a single friend, lest I get sucked back into the time vortex that is social media.


However, my disdain for Facebook was almost immediately reconfirmed via an act that I found highly unsurprising.

Just 24 hours after creating my account, I logged in to see if my group has accepted my request to join.

That’s when Facebook hit me with the message:

“We have noticed compromising activity on your account. Please confirm your account security by entering your mobile number here.”

I did as I was told, even though I felt like I was being duped. And sure enough, 20 seconds later, I received confirmation along the lines of: your account is now secure, we’re always looking out for your privacy, and by the way we’ve added your mobile number to your account.

Wait. What?

I didn’t ask for my mobile number to be added to my account. I highly doubt there was any suspicious activity and instead, I reckon it was a ploy to gain access to more of my data.

Because Facebook can do a lot with a little – especially when it comes to mobile phone access.

According to The Verge, Facebook “has been collecting call records and SMS data from Android devices for years. Several Twitter users have reported finding months or years of call history data in their downloadable Facebook data file”.

Have you ever wondered how they manage the “someone you may know” feature? It’s only possible because they mine your phone data like they’re digging for gold. And let’s be clear – that’s exactly what it is. Data gold. By simply adding your phone number to your FB profile, you’re granting them unfettered access to your contacts, their email addresses and phone numbers, your call history, your text messages and more.

Needless to say, I quickly worked out how to delete my phone number from my profile. If you care about protecting your privacy and that of your contacts, I’d suggest you do the same.