Reporter Recounts a Quirk in Google’s Search Algorithm That Resulted in His Phone Number Getting Listed as Facebook’s Customer Support (vice.com)

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, writing for Vice’s Motherboard: I’m waiting for the subway when the phone rings. On the other end of the line an angry woman is shouting at me about her Facebook account. I hang up. A few hours later, I’m walking to get some lunch when someone calls. “I forgot my Facebook password,” the man says. I sigh, and — once again — explain that I can’t help. […] This keeps happening. In the last three days, I’ve gotten more than 80 phone calls. Just today, in the span of eight minutes, I got three phone calls from people looking to talk to Facebook. I didn’t answer all of them, and some left voicemails.

Initially, I thought this was some coordinated trolling campaign. As it turns out, if you Googled “Facebook phone number” on your phone earlier this week, you would see my cellphone as the fourth result, and Google has created a “card” that pulled my number out of the article and displayed it directly on the search page in a box. The effect is that it seemed like my phone number was Facebook’s phone number, because that is how Google has trained people to think. Considering that on average, according to Google’s own data, people search for “Facebook phone numberâ tens of thousands of times every month, I got a lot of calls.

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