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Facebook Is Spamming Users Via Their 2FA Phone Numbers (mashable.com) 119

According to Mashable, Facebook account holder Gabriel Lewis tweeted that Facebook texted "spam" to the phone number he submitted for the purposes of 2-factor authentication. Lewis insists that he did not have mobile notifications turned on, and when he replied "stop" and "DO NOT TEXT ME," he says those messages showed up on his Facebook wall. From the report: Lewis explained his version of the story to Mashable via Twitter direct message. "[Recently] I decided to sign up for 2FA on all of my accounts including FaceBook, shortly afterwards they started sending me notifications from the same phone number. I never signed up for it and I don't even have the FB app on my phone." Lewis further explained that he can go "for months" without signing into Facebook, which suggests the possibility that Mark Zuckerberg's creation was feeling a little neglected and trying to get him back. According to Lewis, he signed up for 2FA on Dec. 17 and the alleged spamming began on Jan. 5. Importantly, Lewis isn't the only person who claims this happened to him. One Facebook user says he accidentally told "friends and family to go [to] hell" when he "replied to the spam."
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Facebook Is Spamming Users Via Their 2FA Phone Numbers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    You are a moron and just the sort facebook loves.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @08:34PM (#56125925) Homepage
      Yes, this is EXACTLY why I never gave FB my phone number for TFA despite how many times they tell me how secure it will make me.

      They already know it, of course-- they hoover up information from everywhere. But they can't officially admit that they know it.

      • "Yes, this is EXACTLY why I never gave FB my phone number for TFA despite how many times they tell me how secure it will make me."

        I didn't even give them my name, my email address nor a password.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        You don't have FB blackholed?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. Delete Facebook and change your cell number while you're at it.

      I have two numbers. One which all the whatsapp muppets have and other is private. No cloud sync, no numbers even in the phone book.

      • You do know that Facebook owns Whatsapp?

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @08:24PM (#56125881)
    It's short for We don't give "two fucks, asshole".
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As someone who is very good with password hygiene and also uses a VPN, I've basically had 2FA forced down my throat. I am definitely suspicious that this was just a way to track me more easily under the guise of security.

      • How exactly have you had it âoeforced down your throatâ? Facebook *does* ask me to sign up for it now and then, but has never made it a requirement. And whatâ(TM)s with all this perviserating from people who would never / donâ(TM)t use FB to begin with?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ... And what's with all this perviserating from people ...

          And what the fuck do you mean by 'perviserating' ??/.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @10:02PM (#56126279) Journal
      The A is for ads.
  • Am I not surprised?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    May the hammer drop soon on Facebook, I chortle gleefully since I'm not on FB.
  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @08:32PM (#56125911)
    What kind of idiot would give their phone number to Facebook? Seriously... who would do this? Facebook is a company that makes money from selling your personal information to anybody who'll pay them. What kind of person thinks that giving a company like this a phone number is a good idea?
    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lokedhs ( 672255 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @08:44PM (#56125975)
      It's highly likely that they already have your phone number. Most Facebook users happily share their address book with them, and as long as any of them has your phone number, they will trivially link it to you.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's highly likely that they already have your phone number.

        Exactly. You can have no direct involvement with FB but people who do will give data about you to FB. The chance they don't have your phone number is roughly zero.

        Not only that but for most people they also have your facial biometrics, because you will at some point be in a photo that someone uploads to FB (unless you haven't left your basement in the last 10 years). You don't even have to be tagged for them to work out who you are.

        In fact, recently, your face doesn't even have to be visible for them to

        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @10:34PM (#56126395) Homepage

          Back in 2000, when the "i love you" trojan was harvesting people's address books, everyone was up in arms. Microsoft's reputation for security was damaged for a decade, IT managers had to start educating people about trojans and spear-phishing. Today, everyone expects that software harvests their personal information without asking and doesn't seem to care. How far we have fallen.

          • Re:Duh (Score:5, Funny)

            by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:48PM (#56126530) Journal

            Microsoft's reputation for security was damaged for a decade

            I have to take exception to that. Microsoft never had any reputation for security in the first place.

            -jcr

          • by houghi ( 78078 )

            I remember when that happened. The IT department told everybody in the company to close their PC and go home. Most department did. We just dualbooted into BeOS and Linux and kept going. COO called me to close and I told him no. Fun times. (Yes, I still had a job after that)
            That was the first time something like that happened on such a large scale.

            Since then we have had many scares, but we got used to it.

            If the boy who cries wolf has it right every time, the result is the same as when he is wrong every time.

    • Unfortunately people give permission to Facebook to "look for friends" by sharing their address book (Linked In does this as well). If you're in the address book, guess what? LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc now have a complete list of all your information thanks to your friends.

      This is how you get the "magical" friend/contact suggestions in these services.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is why I haven't given my phone number to eBay or Gmail or Facebook or anyone else with the claim that "it will secure your account". I also won't give it to Home Depot, Target, or (now defunct) Radio Shack when they ask for your phone number "to help with returns". Because you know sooner or later the marketers are going to steal the whole phone number database and abuse it. Corporations cannot be trusted with personal data. /warranty cards

    • What kind of idiot would give their phone number to Facebook?

      Why wouldn't you? Ever heard of a phone book? I think my phone number is plastered pretty much all over the internet. That's generally how a communications medium like a phone works.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        Ever heard of a phone book? I think my phone number is plastered pretty much all over the internet. That's generally how a communications medium like a phone works.

        Last I checked, my number isn't in the phone book, and has never been there. That's on purpose, of course.

  • Quit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @08:47PM (#56125991)

    Seriously, if you barely sign on anyway, just quit.

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @08:51PM (#56126009)
    I have never given Facebook my phone number, nor have I ever installed the app. Somehow they are texting me and BEGGING me to come back. It's kind of funny.
    • FB sends stuff to you since are linked.
    • Probably many people on your friends list uploaded their address book to Facebook. Now they have your number (and whatever else).
    • I have never given Facebook my phone number, nor have I ever installed the app. Somehow they are texting me and BEGGING me to come back. It's kind of funny.

      I never get any e-mails from Facebook (I wonder if I have them blocked and I forgot I blocked them). In the past I have signed up using temporary e-mail addresses and a VPN, just so I could check things out, fake name, and never logged back in with that account. They won't let me do that anymore, they ask for a phone number before I can sign up.

  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @09:10PM (#56126069) Homepage

    I can virtually guarantee that he was confused and enabled his mobile number as "the" mobile number on his Facebook account when setting up 2FA. (In fact, I'd be surprised if Facebook allowed a distinct 2FA number that hadn't already be validated as belonging to you to be set.)

    As for why it showed up on his wall, maybe if he used Facebook more he'd realize that that's a feature. Send an SMS to the 5 digit SMS code and it will be interpreted as a FB Status update (unless it matches another string, like poking a user using a distinct notification number).

    It's rarely used nowadays because a majority of folks probably use the app, but if you want to update via text message that's how you do it.

    Ticket closed: PEBCAK (and stop whining)

  • This is the main reason why I did not give Facebook a 2FA phone number the dozens of times I was prompted to do so. If Facebook wanted it that badly, I suspected it was not for my own benefit (i.e., I was the product being sold) It just seemed to me that they would either spam me directly or sell the number to advertisers or both.
  • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @09:34PM (#56126151)

    Let's try to come up with more likely explanations as to why Facebook, Google, et al. want our phone numbers so badly:

    • + If they have your phone number they can identify your phone and track you more accurately (They also buy this data from the telcos)
    • + They can also tie your account to your bank account (that you use to pay your phone bill) and tie that to your data that they bought from credit card companies.
    • + Erm... what more can we come up with?
    • by FormOfActionBanana ( 966779 ) <slashdot2@douglasheld.net> on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @09:37PM (#56126159) Homepage

      Correlate you with all the prostitutes and drug dealers who saved your phone number on their phones.

    • If you have an Android phone with Google Play, Google already know your phone number.
      If you have a Facebook app installed, Facebook already know it too.

      • Is that so? I don't think GSM phones (with SIM) can see their own phone number, similar to how you can't see your IP address when you're behind a NAT.

        My (EU, SIM) Android phone, in settings / about phone / status shows "phone number: unknown".

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Is that so? I don't think GSM phones (with SIM) can see their own phone number, similar to how you can't see your IP address when you're behind a NAT.

          My (EU, SIM) Android phone, in settings / about phone / status shows "phone number: unknown".

          Yes they can. It's a basic command to the modem, actually. Most phones will retrieve and show the local phone number as a convenience (because there are people who do not know their own phone number - after all, how often are you calling yourself?).

          Every phone I've had

          • Well, the answer is thus: SIM cards know their number when it's programmed into the SIM. By default they do not know their number.

            I thought they knew by default and I found out "the hard way" that it isn't so. I bought a cheap pre-paid card to use in one of my UMTS modems. Interestingly I did not get the number when buying the SIM. I suspect it was written on the receipt, which I threw away when I bought it. Given I had trouble sending SMS using smstools, I wanted to try sending SMS to it, and when I

            • It's up to your operator if they populate that information on the sim card.

              If they want to they can update it remotely.

              • It's up to your operator if they populate that information on the sim card.

                If they want to they can update it remotely.

                Yes, but it means you can't assume it's there (or not there). There is no well defined default.

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @09:38PM (#56126165) Homepage

    I told you so.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:11PM (#56126434)

    "Facebook Is Spamming Users..."

    That's all I needed to read, everything beyond that is just detail.

    Of course Facebook Is spamming you, THAT'S WHAT THEY DO.

  • trickery (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @02:15AM (#56126902) Homepage Journal

    Possible user errors aside, why would you ever willingly give your phone number or any other personal details not strictly necessary to a company in the business of selling your personal data ???

    It should be obvious to an idiot that for FB, 2FA is just a welcome excuse to get you to give up your phone number, which of course they will immediately turn around and sell.

    Honestly, you have to be stupid not to spot that.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      The way they do opt-out and opt-in makes it not actually human error most of the time.
      "Are you not unwilling to not have the unicluded number not be absent form the undisplaying non-information or do you exclude wanting the anti-opposite?" or sometjng similar with a default yes or no selected at almost random.

      Yes it is there, but it will be there in such a way that the majority of the people select what the company wants, not what the user wants. And they will present it over and over again, till you have s

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Thursday February 15, 2018 @04:54AM (#56127198) Homepage

    The up coming General Data Protection Regulation [eugdpr.org] says, amongst many other things, that data must only be used for the purpose that it is obtained and can only be used with the explicit permission of the individual. Hopefully scum-bags like facebook will change once they have had a few fines of 2% of the annual worldwide turnover [wikipedia.org].

  • The title makes it sound like a widespread problem, but it looks like this has only happened to a single person. Honestly, seems like some idiot user accidentally turned on a notification feature and then was upset when it did what he told it to do. Just because he wasn't aware of what he did or how he could easily stop it doesn't really make it a scandal.
  • Not so fast... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @09:41AM (#56127896) Journal

    (Logging in to repeat my anonymous post)

    I received several SMS messages like this, from half-a-dozen numbers, a week or two ago. There were maybe 20 messages over a 1 hour period.

    Here's the thing. I don't have a Facebook account. I did, once, about 10 years ago. I cancelled it after only about a month, and that was long before they implemented 2FA. And it was also long before I had my current phone number. This number has never been given to Facebook for anything, at least not by me.

    I thought they were a scam of some sort, and just ended up blocking the numbers as spam in my messaging client (Signal).

    • Maybe it was the previous owner of your phone number? Or even worse, someone using your number as a fake filler for their own account?
  • Am I reading that right. Sending a text to Facebook will show the post on their page?

    It's pretty easy to spoof where an SMS came from. This could be fun.

  • I, too, refused to ever provide FB with my phone number - even though it prompts regularly to add it.

    I'm finding that increasingly, "free" services online that ask for your cell number DO use the info for marketing purposes.

    For example? I know many people who noticed that right after they started playing that HQ Trivia game on their phones, they started receiving a lot of scam and solicitation calls on their number. I definitely did.

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