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Facebook Used 2FA Phone Numbers to Target Ads, Allows Ads in Stories

Facebook has confirmed that advertisers do in fact used phone numbers that users provided for two-factor security authentication to target advertising on its network.

Facebook required users’ phone number for an extra security technique called two-factor authentication (2FA), that adds a second layer of authentication to help keep their accounts secure.

The company’s acknowledgment comes in the wake of a report that exposed the practice unveiled by a study by two US universities. First reported by Gizmodo, the study found that phone numbers given to Facebook for 2FA were used to target advertising.

Additionally, contact lists uploaded to Facebook could also be mined for personal information, meaning that people could unintentionally help advertisers target their friends.

The study also reported concerns that Facebook uses “shadow profiles” sources of data not given to the social network for sharing to make money on advertising.

“We use the information people give to offer a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a response to the study.

“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,” added Facebook.

The official added further said, users can opt out of this ad-based repurposing of their security digits by not using phone number based 2FA.

This week, Facebook also introduced Stories Ads, that let advertisers run ads in Stories.

Facebook had first introduced ads in Instagram Stories last year, followed by allowing ads in Facebook Stories this past May as a limited test starting in three countries.

Facebook said it’s making the Stories ads available to all advertisers around the world, to help advertisers target as more than 300 million people viewing Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories every day.

Now that audience has grown, a business can use Facebook Stories as an additional placement to News Feed or Instagram Stories ad campaigns to deliver a full screen experience.

Here is an example of Facebook Stories Ads:

Facebook Stories Ads

And, soon stories ad campaigns will also available in Messenger, too.

Facebook Stories ads have grown as well as they now support every objective that’s now available for Instagram Stories ad. This includes:

Brand awareness
Video views
App installs
And, lead generation

For performance marketers, stories ads can also inspire people to take action.

Facebook is making its full suite of targeting and measurement capabilities available for stories ads across its platforms.

The company touts the impact of Stories ads said it surveys found that advertisers who have added Facebook Stories to their Instagram Stories ad campaigns resulted in more customer actions at a lower cost.

Here are some statistics from Facebook study:

  • 38% of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it,
  • 34% said they went to a store to look for it.5 Tentree, a sustainable, eco-friendly clothing company, and Skout, a dating app after seeing it in a story.


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