Facebook shares are higher Thursday, despite reports showing the social media platform gives advertisers access to ‘shadow’ user contact data. Researchers found that contact information shared privately by users for authentication, or stored on a friend’s contacts information, can become available to advertisers.
By 1615 BST, Facebook shares were 1.68% higher at $169.75. The stock has been a little mixed in recent weeks.
Facebook’s use of private details
Reports highlight that even when a user of the platform doesn’t display certain contact details on their use profile, Facebook is able to help advertisers access it in other ways.
One of those ways is where a user has shared their phone number with Facebook for security purposes. Those details are stored separately from your public profile; however, they can become available to advertisers soon after you register them.
In addition, researchers have written an academic paper showing that even if you use a different Facebook security authentication method, which doesn’t involve your phone number, it can still be uncovered and shared if its on one of your Facebook friends’ contact lists.
In this case, you aren’t able to remove your details from that friend’s list as it would be against privacy rules. However, nor are you able to stop advertisers from using that number they accessed from someone else’s data.
“Our paper highlights the need to further study the sources of PII (Personally Identifying Information) used for advertising, and shows that more disclosure and transparency needs to be provided to users,” the academic paper by researchers, Giridhari Venkatadri*, Elena Lucherini, Piotr Sapiezynski, and Alan Mislove, shows.
Facebook unveils Oculus Quest VR
Separately, Facebook has unveiled it Oculus Quest VR gaming headset. The all-in-one gaming VR headset will be available in the Spring of 2019 and be on sale for $399.
“We’re excited to usher in the next era of VR gaming with the introduction of Oculus Quest, our first all-in-one VR gaming system,” Facebook’s Oculus team said in a blog post.
“Offering six degrees of freedom and Touch controllers, Oculus Quest makes it easy to jump right into the action—with no PC, no wires, and no external sensors,” the blog reads.