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The phone number that secures your Facebook account isn’t as safe as you think

Online privacy can be a “two steps forward, one step back” situation.

Facebook FB, +3.14% came under fire over the weekend after a user discovered that users of the social-media site cannot opt out of allowing others to “look up” others’ accounts using the phone number they supplied for two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication is a method used to secure online accounts that requires users to verify their claimed identity in some way beyond a password. This can include having a number texted to a mobile device or logging into a separate authentication app.

In an age of near-daily security breaches, two-factor authentication is seen as a way to help users maintain some control over their online security — it’s a step that’s often recommended by security experts.

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