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Facebook’s 2FA system auto-posts replies on your profile
February 24, 2018, 4:31 pm

Two-factor authentication (2FA) systems offer a more secure way to log into an online account by asking for secondary confirmation of the user’s identity. But Facebook’s 2FA has some bizarre design elements, including using the same phone number used for 2FA to notify you of posts from friends.

Even worse, it seems that replying to this message with any message, such as “Please stop,” auto-posts that message to your Facebook profile. This behavior occurs with any reply to a Facebook 2FA text message, and other users have popped up on Twitter and elsewhere to complain that both Facebook and Instagram have spammed them with notifications to their 2FA phone number, even when they have never opted in to notifications via text messaging in the first place.

There’s a legal layer to this situation, as well. Facebook is currently embroiled in a number of class-action lawsuits over alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in the United States, which states that no company may contact you via text without being given express permission first. In those past cases, Facebook was spamming users with birthday reminder text messages and other automated spam, even when users opted out of text message notifications or had never given Facebook their phone number.

It is unclear whether this more recent behavior is a bug, though the auto-posting feature certainly looks like one. If the company is indeed intentionally using 2FA phone numbers to lure users back to Facebook without getting those users’ express user consent, it could open the company up to lawsuits.

In a statement, a Facebook representative did not address whether the auto-posting of replies was intentional or a bug.  The company also says that it is looking into the text notification issue, and that its 2FA system can be used with a code generator if any user does not wish to provide a phone number.


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