Facebook users can no longer find people based on a phone number or email address.
The feature was among a list of API's that Facebook shut down after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, in light of the revelation that data thieves abused the function by scraping profile information.
“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,” wrote Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook in a post announcing the change. “So we have now disabled this feature. We're also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.”
The announcement comes right after Facebook announced it would lock out third-party data providers, concluding its Partner Categories product which allows advertisers to use enable precision targeting based on data present on Facebook and off it.
Implications for advertisers and agencies
Every web and mobile app with a Facebook login is now at the risk of breaking.
Facebook will start allowing only those apps that meet its strict requirements, otherwise they may lose all data on a user's events, likes, check-ins, groups and more. Apps relied on the Facebook login to bring in users that were uninterested in a lengthy sign-up form and relied on the user data for monetization purposes.
Furthermore, services such as SocialChamp that are used to manage Facebook pages and schedule posts may struggle to connect with the social network.