Facebook has made changes to the mobile registration and login process in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Users can now prevent their phone number from being shared with Facebook by their telecom provider.
Facebook’s custom registration and login procedures are specifically aimed at users in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Users in those regions often connect to Facebook with the mobile app via telecom providers that are partners of Facebook. In these areas there are relatively many people who do not have an e-mail address, which means that they are forced to register and log in via a mobile phone number. This can cause problems when changing operators and using multiple SIM cards, because the identification of a mobile number is usually linked to the primary SIM card.
Facebook therefore requests the current telephone number of users from partner telecom companies to fill in when users register, log in or want to change their password. Apparently, the social network did not sufficiently inform users about this, because with the changed procedures, Facebook will explicitly report that it requests telephone numbers. Also, users get an opt-out option to prevent their mobile provider from sharing their number. The number will then no longer automatically appear on the login or registration screen in the future.
To prevent users from being unable to log in to Facebook at a later time, a custom screen will now appear when logging out. With a button, Facebook members can save their login details here, so that they can use the social network again at a later time.
Facebook reports that it uses the requested phone numbers to access the accounts, but also to “provide programs in collaboration with mobile providers.” Facebook has previously been discredited for encouraging users to add phone numbers to their accounts for security reasons. Since September last year, Facebook has stated in the notification for adding phone numbers that it is used for more than just security. Facebook also did not offer an opt-out to be found based on their phone number for a long time.