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This will make keeping your social media private during recruiting much much harder because rather than trying to search for your name on FB or your email, an interviewer can just search your listed contact number. Names are often not unique but phone numbers are.

This matters because creating a new email account for recruiting is trivial, yet creating a new phone number for recruiting is not. Most phones are not dual sim, and you want to have a phone on you in case the recruiter or future employer calls. Hence the account id rate using a phone number should be much higher and makes it dramatically easier to find somebody.

The nasty part is even if you rename your account to your "first-name middle-name" or an alias, you could be found out via phone number search. So simply renaming your account no longer ensures random recruiters can't just find your profile. Your FB name could be "giant blue monkey" which prevents a regular name search but would still be identifiable via phone number search.

There are also a non negligible number of people using an alias on facebook because they have good reason.

Apparently when a woman uses a pseudonym on facebook, it is not unlikely that it is because of a nasty/stalkerish ex that she would rather get away from.

I am actually in favor of a transparent society (a la david brin) , but we have to grown up a lot and handle such cases before the advantages that come with it can even be contemplated.

> in favor of a transparent society

I suggest you read The Transparent Society by Byung-Chul Han. It’s a brutal 50-page indictment of the hypercult of transparency and its effects on the human soul, on the political discourse, and on traditional values like truth and beauty. Might change your view on the costs of transparency.

The Hypercult of Transparency[nice choice of words!] exists because people keep falling for the Transparency=Accountability meme. And until the rather recent advent of homeomorphic encryption, that meme did have some rather humongous amounts of truth to it. However, given the existence of homeomorphic encryption, this no longer rings true.

Speaking of homeomorphic encryption and Facebook:


Whats the connection between discussions about "the cult of transparency" and homeomorphic encryption?

Presumably that accountability could be achieved despite secrecy, through code. Also see Zero-knowledge proofs


The three body problem book part 2 also explores a fully transparent society; It's really interesting with all the sides effects (They can't lie, etc.). I recommend anyone to read it !

I read the first and while the ideas explored were interesting, I found the writing itself to be completely off-putting:

- first of all, Three Body seems like the most boring videogame ever developed, not sure how people could actually be believably playing that.

- the characters are pretty much caricatures of stereotypes (the cop), or just plain uninteresting.

- the massive exposure/infodump chapters killed the immersion from me, especially the ones written from the point of view of the other side of the conflict: it really felt like the author was getting towards the end and wanted to Explain All The Things, but couldn't find a subtle way to do so within the narrative, therefore decided to just vomit it all in a single spurt.

I was really looking forward to it but found it disappointing, won't read any more from this author.

Agreed, it's some of the worst prose I've ever read. Since I don't read Mandarin, I can't know how much of it can be blamed on the author and how much on the translator. There are some really interesting ideas in the novel but also some patently absurd ones, not to mention the terrible dialogue and characters.

I felt the same. I wonder if some of these issues stem from the fact that the book was originally written in Chinese (iirc)... maybe some of the infodump sections seem more natural in the original tongue?

Isn't the premise of that book that privacy is a deep human need, and that its erosion goes against our intent?

I would argue that the next generation coming up will have little to no _need_ for privacy. When you grow up with nanny cams in your bedroom, privacy per se isn't even valued, let alone met with an expectation.

Nanny cams won’t change the fundamental nature of human beings. If privacy was a deep human need a generation ago, it will continue to be for foreseeable generations. Technology has created an illusion of progress and transcendance of our own nature but in truth we’re still merely advanced primates.

There is a thoughtful counterargument to Han here:


IMO it doesn't sufficiently deal with the problems of the "full transparancy" ideal that Han points out though.

> Apparently when a woman uses a pseudonym on facebook, it is not unlikely that it is because of a nasty/stalkerish ex that she would rather get away from.

Also men do this...

>Also men do this...

True story. A stalker found my blog via my Instagram account and commented some far-out there shit on it, inferring a conversation that we never even had, "Told you that you weren't dead." WTF!?

Now, it's pseudonyms, pseudonyms everywhere; except, of course, where it serves a necessity to have your actual name being used, such as on LinkedIn, but even those will be discarded, as soon as it's no longer necessary. (Necessity, here, meaning seeking gainful employment.)

see also: Any employee in the education sector would have good reason.

I wonder how long it takes until the whole teaching profession just collectively decides to adopt professional pseudonyms. Would make "child at same school"-situations even more awkward I guess.

My mother was my french teacher at school three times. At home she was "mom" and in class she was "madame". It was not complicated.

That being said I did once call my male first grade teacher "mom" so maybe I'm not a good example

The issue would be safeguarding.

There's no problem what name the school has you on the books for. There's no reason what they have on file/police checks is the same name presented on office doors, emails and to parents.

We do this all the time for students that can't/won't use their legal names in school for a number of reasons.

I guess it is just a matter of getting the right systems in place to manage the administrative overhead.

There are quite a few lines of work where this might not be a bad idea. E.g. also Police and government employees in general.

While I appreciate the premise and good intent, the transparent society sounds like an idealized Girardian nightmare to me.

We had a million years to grow up, I don't think we'll ever get there (without drastic measures a la 1984, if you wish)

We haven’t started doing any serious genetic engineering (or maybe, depending on timeline, the equivalent for minds uploaded into computers) yet. Once we do, we could do a lot of “growing up” very quickly.

It isn't physical "growing up" that we, as a species, need to do. This is the way the whole society act. If you look at politics and corporate world, it feels like a bunch of pre schooler throwing tantrum. As a society we are not acting responsibly. You could argue that the worse are countries that still argue to go to war with their neighbors on the pretends the later are different, but the rest allowing to destroy the planet while keeping the rest of the society under control, preventing us, as a species, to achieve goals that are dreamed by the most creative of us. And it is depressingly easy to keep the status quo.

The "Growing up" reminded me of this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ja-mHeYAKM

The point I wanted to make here is mostly this: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/10/society-is-fixed-biolo...

IMHO, it doesn’t make sense to blame “society” for being pre schoolers, any more than it makes sense to blame individual humans for becoming mentally ill. Both are just failure modes of our mental hardware (our tribal-status instincts in the societal case.) The only solution to either that would “stick”—what I would interpret “growing up” to mean—is to remake ourselves without those failure modes.

Anything less might help individual humans who get some sort of maintenance treatment for their failure modes; but our society as a whole will still be a function of interactions between both people who have treated those failure modes in themselves, and those who have not yet (because e.g. they aren’t aware yet that they have a problem; or don’t see it as a problem; etc.)

Thank you for the link. I agree with what the author is saying, mostly. :)

Mind that when I mentioned society as a whole, this is inclusive to its individual parts: There is no society without individuals and as such any judgment on a society is a judgement on its parts. That being said, I know it is a naive view, as no one can condemn a society completely.

As for the bio engineering to try and weed out the "bad wiring", I am not even sure we are close to identify them clearly, as seems to indicate the science articles about the brain and other nervous system in recent years.

My GF uses a google voice number (and separate gmail accounts) for job search purposes both for this reason and because she can nuke the phone number later, cutting off headhunters once she'd found something she likes.

Sounds useful. It's unfortunate that google voice still isn't available outside North America. I don't know if that is for technical reasons or for (European/Asian) political reasons. But it sure would have been nice to keep separate numbers the same way it's sometimes necessary to keep separate google accounts.

Not advertising.. but Skype can also generate phone numbers for you, and you can equally drop them. I remember I used a Skype landline number for that specifi purpose - throaway number for when I was looking for a new job. And I discareded it immediately after.

>But it sure would have been nice to keep separate numbers the same way it's sometimes necessary to keep separate google accounts.

In Sweden, you can request a pre-paid SIM be sent to you in the mail[0].

To be fair, it's not entirely a "burner" SIM, as it's associated with your personnummer but it's a lot more convenient than queuing in a shop (if that's not your thing).

Maybe your country has a carrier that does the equivalent? :)

[0] - https://webbutik.comviq.se/kontantkort/checkout/comviqcart/p...

In the US, I can walk into a store and pay cash for a $30 flip phone without any ID, and unlimited talk and text. 15 years ago it was $150 and 200 minutes talk, 20 texts.

There are plenty of other providers. Here in the UK there's LocalPhone.com for instance. They're even able to get you a number in a country of your choice, forwarding to a phone in a country of your choice.

Google Voice is US-only.

"Google Voice is only available in the United States. To use Google Voice, sign up with a US-based phone number."

It's only available in US, not even Canada.

I think VOIP has great untapped potential for this, having helped many people get vanity numbers with their name embedded. Once the job hunt is over, you can literally reject all calls, and build a caller ID blacklist of spammy companies and recruiters. Plus, numbers are 1/4th to 1/10th the cost of domains these days.

It works the other way too.

I keep blocking spammy numbers, and they keep creating new ones.

Are they? I pay $1/mo for phone numbers, which is quite close to what I pay for most of my domains.

Could you share some places you use to buy numbers like that? Do you just set them up to forward, or do you have more control than that? I've always been interested in this, but apart from Google Voice, I haven't found a good way to get started.

Twilio is the easiest by far, IMO.

Twilio is also one of the most expensive providers, and if you don't need E911 you can easily get numbers for less than half that price.

That's great to know, could you point me towards any other companies?

phone numbers cost close to nothing to operators, but running a voip infrastructure hast its costs, and a lot of those costs come from protecting it from hacking attempts. They love open pbx boxes where they can generate a significant cost, or use to spam others.

also compassion with domain is not exactly fair in this case, it would make more sense to compare it to ip address.

Fail2ban, not using IP based auth, and mandatory TLS/SRTP will generally cover your bases (ofc, Fail2ban should be banning any IPs attempting TCP/UDP registration or calling without SRTP).

Not really rocket science, but the VOIP industry is stuck in the 1990s when it comes to security practices related to their core offering. Its a terrible state of affairs!

So get off public social networks. Problem solved.

I realize that you’re getting slammed for a pat, trite, or unhelpful answer to a complex problem, but it also happens to be the only answer. It’s an answer with real consequences, but when weighed against giving your privacy over to FB what else is to be done right now?

Public social networks are poison, they’re inimical to privacy, and we need to get off of any that harvest personal information. Telling people to “quit FB (and other similar services)” may come off wrong, but for a long time so did “quit smoking.” I get it, I’d love to have cigarettes that are healthy and delicious, but until then... quit smoking. Maybe someday public social media will be safe and sane, but until then... quit.

One major difficulty with leaving Facebook in particular over privacy concerns is that it doesn't really stop the social network from violating your privacy, or letting others do it (often without bad intentions on their part). Aside from its now famous shadow profiles, you've got your friends and family or work/business associates posting things with you in them, photos, videos etc and even naming you (don't think they can tag you though if your profile is shut down). And if you've erased your profile you can't even have the minimal safety of monitoring what gets posted by who, so you can ask them to maybe take it down if it's harmful. We get sucked into FB's network effect in all sorts of ways nowadays if we live any kind of normal social life in a connected society.

Agreed although I was curious about one of your points, specifically can FB users tag a person who is not on FB? If so this is really troubling. Also do you know if FB uses shadow profiles to suggest tag name in pictures the same as it does for regular users?

I don't think tagging works for people not on FB, though if anyone else here has seen different, i'd love to hear their two cents. As for tagging of people who were on FB but deactivated their profiles. I've seen tags work before and that;s bad enough because even if you try to leave the social network, people can post images or videos of you and associate your name with them regardless. What shadow profiles have to do with these things I don't honestly know, the social network would keep something like that pretty secret I think.

I don't know anyone around me who still uses facebook. Heard the story of a relative who organised a birthday on facebook and wondered why no one showed up.

I don't think it's an unhelpful answer to a complex problem. I think it's the right answer.

> but it also happens to be the only answer.

"Only" oversells the option. There's also:

* mix fake/mining-hostile data in with real data as needed for social media profiles * use public institutions to enact consumer protection policies

Both of these have their own difficulties and limits, of course, but so does ditching social media entirely.

I don't understand why people signed up for Facebook in the first place. The Zuckerberg email and dumbasses quote has been around for a long time.

This is such an unhelpful answer that it almost always worthless. The utility of social networks for contact is unmatched. One profile, ideally locked down how you see fit, that follows you for as long as you allow it to follow you. The response to this is usually that there nothing wrong with phone numbers or email addresses. Except there are.

Phone numbers change. This is less frequent now that we have mobile numbers, but they still change. Email addresses can also change as people move through different phases of life. Hell, email seems to be becoming unreliable as calling since unsubscribing from mailing lists you never joined doesn't seem to work any more.

I get it. Facebook is evil.

You can set it to be searchable by friends only, which should avoid recruiters being able to do this, unless they are adding themselves as friends first.

If you set it to searchable by friends only, wouldn't you still show up in the suggestions? Especially if your number is added in someone's cell phone?

By the way: I haven't actually used facebook since 2012...

I’m not entirely sure how suggestions work in this context, I would presume that you’d only show up in suggestions to the circle within which you had allowed your number to be searchable, and so ‘friends only’ should prevent being added by phone number.

I totally get people want a "only me" option here, but really how bad is "friends-only" here? If I'm "friends" with you, you probably already know my phone number in real life.

I'm not really actively using Facebook anymore, but when I did, the threshold for becoming a "Facebook friend" was a lot lower than that for regular friends, or people I shared my phone number with.

Because a "facebook friend" isn't an actual friend, and having these "friends" have my phone number is like everyone in a bar being able to look up my number. Or perhaps like going to a work conference and everyone being able to call me.

The random "How are you are you single wanna talk about sex with me?!!???" messages are bad enough. I certainly don't want those as phone calls.

Those on the list that are actual Friends might have my phone number. Might not, though, since there is no point (I moved countries). In any case, they know not to freaking call me unless it is important or you have reason or you want me to answer my door.

Letting your friends have your number is a separate setting you can turn off (at least for now). This is about friends who have your number being able tell that it is your number, I think.

> Because a "facebook friend" isn't an actual friend

That's only true for you if you choose it to be true for you.

On the surface that is true, but most folks understand it doesn't really work that way and facebook isn't really used that way. At a minimum, facebook is generally full of actual friends (for me, maybe 5 folks now), family (my family is large) and folks you generally have met from school and work and other folks you might know in a professional manner or through groups and activities.

Not all of these groups would have my phone number, but facebook isn't exactly a telephone service at its core.

Can't you limit your FB friends to actual friends?

Sure, at a cost. Actual friends and immediate family? I'm covered in 20 people or less. Most wouldn't call, though, since I moved across an ocean.

I could include folks I've been to school with, folks I met in language class, a few folks I've worked with, and so on. I don't want all of these folks to call me, though, and I*d rather some didn't have my number. I also don't fully dislike these folks.

More seriously, though, it would keep my social circle smaller. I met my spouse online around 10 years ago, and this sort of caution you ask about would mean I wouldn't have my life.

Becaused for most people "friends" on facebook range from tru life-long friends down to mearly contacts, people you need to interact with in some way butdon't neccessarily want bothering you by phone.

> Names are often not unique but phone numbers are.

Right out of "Myths programmers believe about phone numbers" which was on the HN front page a week back. Has everyone forgotten about landlines? Even cell numbers are not permanently assigned to a single person: especially in jurisdictions where pay-as-you-go accounts are the majority.

You use your real phone number on FB? MY no on there is a fake (but real number in my area code).

And I don't put my Mobile number on FB at all.

Might it be possible to compromise your account by getting control of that phone number?

Lol the 66666 number isn't normally handed out in the uk I used xxxx 66666.

If you apply to work at Facebook do they look at non-public content in your Facebook account? Let's assume you're not even keeping your Facebook profile a secret.

No. This would be a violation of our data privacy policies and would result in immediate termination of all employees involved.

Given the complete lack of respect that Facebook has for individual privacy and the wellbeing of our society in general why should anyone believe this?

If you think that of FB, why would you be applying to work there?

Not that I support the idea, but big bucks ?

It would violate terms of service you agreed to.

Um, please explain how Facebook using data you gave it for Facebook's purposes violates Facebook's terms of service.

I figured that was the answer for the hiring manager and all regular employees in the hiring chain, and wasn't implying that anyone might go digging in violation of the rules. (At least not since the early days where stories like that abound.) Wondering more about the HR department doing it under direct authorization of senior management. I assume that Facebook like most companies runs background checks on prospective employees. They must at least be tempted to include their own vast database as part of that background check. I could imagine an automated "security check" process that could be run on a profile without actually seeing that profile, and if it turned up red flags (keywords, high number of reported posts, etc.) HR goes digging further. Maybe not, but certainly wouldn't surprise me.

Sorry, but i cannot see any good reason to trust the word of anyone from Facebook. This company has shown that it is routinely deceptive and lying. Why woud this be an exception ?

That's why you never give them your primary number. Have a burner phone. Or lease a SIM in the Philippines.

> creating a new phone number for recruiting is not

Actually it's really straightforward with Twilio and you can set it to forward to a regular number. Works in most countries/regions.

I used it to give my wife a US number for clients (she's a freelancer).

Phones are not unique but a lot of them are reused when a subscriber changes provider

(They could have always searched you by name, if you're worried about your identity then it makes sense to not connect your phone number to FB)

>but a lot of them are reused when a subscriber changes provider

OT, but I had a not-so-nice experience with that. Some years ago I got myself a data-only phone number/SIM card for my 3G dongle.

It turned out that the number was reused, and the previous owner of that number had subscribed to a pay-for message service for upcoming events (concerts, movies, etc). And they kept arriving to my data-only dongle, and I didn't notice for a while. Had to pay for it, though.

I don't remember how I eventually managed to turn that off (the software for accessing/manipulating that part of the dongle was Windows only).

"This matters because creating a new email account for recruiting is trivial, yet creating a new phone number for recruiting is not."

I create (and destroy) new phone numbers all the time. Via the command line. I can route and forward and block them any way I like, to and from my existing phone (which is single SIM) or to ... nowhere.[1]


[1] I have a "ring forever" TwiML bin that I like to use.

Why would you ever use your real number vs. a throwaway google voice number designated for spam?

Because you don't know about or use Google Voice, or you live in a country it doesn't serve?

> yet creating a new phone number for recruiting is not

Doesn't Google Voice solve this problem? Or perhaps there are restrictions I don't know about. Of course, you still have to remember to create a burner phone number before giving out your contact info...

At least in canada with the national do not call list, I’ve found I receive very few robo calls. For those I do if I wait to talk to a real person and then press as too who is calling me so I can file a report they hang up quick and I don’t hear back.

> Doesn't Google Voice solve this problem? Or perhaps there are restrictions I don't know about.

Only sort of. I wouldn't be surprised if Facebook rejects Google Voices numbers and will only accept a real-live carrier numbers. It seems pretty easy to do, given how often my GV is rejected by sleezy services I'd like to give a throwaway (e.g. peoplesearch opt-outs).

However, I'm not going to personally test this theory by attempting to give a panopticon like Facebook even my semi-throwaway GV number.

Let me surprise you then so you can stop making false speculations - you can use a GV number for Facebook 2FA.

Even if FB was not allowing Google Voice, you could give FB the real number and give throwaway GB numbers to recruiters.

That would solve the issue voiced by OP

I imagine most people would have no idea their profiles could be searched via phone number. I didn't know until today.

If it never occurred to you that this could happen, you would not take steps to prevent it.

We don't have Google Voice in Australia.

Only for US and Canada.

Only US actually.

Because of all the issues with (1) terrorists, (2) foreign state influencers, (3) spammers, Facebook tries to block Google Voice as much as possible

Just two weeks ago: Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Phone Numbers - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11321236

I haven’t heard: if you replace your phone number will they maintain the association with your historical one? It’d be trivial to get a Google Voice number or burner to replace yours.

At this point I have no pity for people who continuously feel violated by Facebook.

Data hygiene is both the responsibility of users & social media cooperations.

I still wonder why people rely on the kindness of strangers (the people that run the social networks) trying to make money off them. & then start crying foul when they are treated like garbage.

Simply don't; - Submit data you find sensitive. - Use bonus credentials where feasible - Deny app access to your mic, location, contacts, camera & calendar - Delete your account if you have substitutes for the features Facebook offers

...and if a single person (or company) with your number in their phone allows Facebook to access their contacts, FB has your phone number anyway.

Second phone numbers aren’t that hard or expensive. you don’t need a second sim, just an app. There is a yc startup providing them: openphone

They are rarely usable on web sites for 2fa as they disallow voip numbers. In fact, many websites don’t allow google voice numbers for the same reason.

Is it easy to distinguish voip numbers ?

Yes, using Twilio’s lookup service it’s trivial.

I honestly do not get what problem are you trying to solve here. If you have content which you think should be hidden from someone, just do not make it public.

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