In what will be a blow to skiptracers everywhere, including the ARM industry, Facebook has announced that users will no longer be able to use phone numbers or email addresses to search for profiles of its users.
Facebook made the announcement yesterday in a blog post.
The move was part of a number of changes the social networking giant is making toward improving privacy controls and protecting the information of its users on the platform. From Mike Schroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer:
Until today, people could enter another person’s phone number or email address into Facebook search to help find them. This has been especially useful for finding your friends in languages which take more effort to type out a full name, or where many people have the same name. In Bangladesh, for example, this feature makes up 7% of all searches. However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.
Using social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are often key components of a company’s skiptracing process. The changes that Facebook announced today will make the platform significantly less useful as a skiptracing tool.