Over the past few months and especially the past few days I have received numerous requests for information regrading how Facebook sync’s with your mobile phone. The answer is… IT DEPENDS! However, over the course of the past few months I have collected a few URL’s to help me… HELP YOU. What I have found has been a little unsettling. I made sure that I locked down all my privacy settings BEFORE I “friended” anyone. And yet, Facebook keeps changing those settings so that I have to go in on a regular basis and REDO privacy settings that I thought I had already removed. For example, mobile phone number. I never entered one and I selected “ONLY ME” in the phone number visibility.
My advise to people has always been, if you are concerned about privacy DO NOT PUT IT ON FACEBOOK, including a profile picture.
WELL, after all the recent changes I decided to verify every setting, AGAIN. Turns out my cell phone was in Facebook AND… there is no longer a setting for who can see that (which to me means it is PUBLIC). So, if you use Facebook from your phone, go verify whether your phone number has been uploaded. I’m sure Facebook considers this a convenience for you. It’s NOT for me.
And while Facebook insists that ONLY YOU can see your contacts, there are MANY websites out there ranting about how data has been linked (often incorrectly) because of sync’d contacts within circles of Facebook friends.
Here are a few (I neither agree nor disagree nor endorse any of these sites, they are just some URL’s that show up in search engines):
and a few recent articles that have popped up in the past few days:
Recently, a Facebook post has circulated regarding your mobile phone contact list is now on Facebook. This is NOT new. If you have a smartphone and you use Facebook from your mobile device, it is possible and probable that you have sync’d your contacts with your Facebook Contact list (formerly just called Phonebook).
From ABC Action News:
In a statement on the social networking website, Facebook responds :
“Rumors claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false. Our Contacts list, formerly called Phonebook, has existed for a long time. The phone numbers listed there were either added by your friends themselves and made visible to you, or you have previously synced your phone contacts with Facebook. Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers.”
To remove your phone number, log in to Facebook and click the Edit Profile button in the upper-right corner of your profile page. There, in the left-hand column, click on Contact Information. In the area labeled Phones, you will see any phone numbers you have previously registered with Facebook. Remove any numbers you don’t want there, and click the Save Changes button.
Each smartphone (i.e. iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, etc) will have it’s own settings to turn off the sync feature with Facebook. They are too numerous to list here but if you are unable to search and find results to change the settings for your device, let me know and I’ll help you out!
If you use Facebook on your mobile device you might want to read this article: http://www.patrickomalley.com/facebook-mobile-warning-cell-phone-number-privacy.html and while you are at it, look at your Sync’d or Imported contacts and verify whether this is the information you actually imported. To remove sync’d or imported contacts use the Facebook instructions found here.
Your email accounts might also sync with Facebook. Do you have your Gmail, Yahoo or other online accounts set to allow you to use Facebook (or do you allow Facebook to import your email contacts “Find Friends feature”?)
And while I am no authority on Facebook, I will be happy to help you find the answers to your questions or help you through your privacy settings… just send me an email!