Rumors are going around that the new Facebook Messenger application is stealing your friends phone numbers off your phone. You’re still advised to remove your numbers since Facebook refuses to allow contact information export.
Lots of people have been alerting me that Facebook just launched a feature that sucks the mobile phone numbers from your phone into your Facebook account. Some have said it’s showing you the phone numbers of all your Facebook friends. At first I didn’t see it, and I thought it was just showing me the phone numbers of Facebook friends have chosen to share. (Like its done for years) But, Lo & Behold, they are there — about 100 phone numbers that weren’t there 5 minutes ago — and NOT just the ones I have in my phone.
To see it on your own profile — go to “Account” (Top Right) then select “Edit Friends”. Once on the page choose “Contacts” and you’ll see a list of most of your friends phone numbers. If you don’t see it yet, wait a few minutes. I didn’t see it when the “outbreak” of fear started either.
People are freaking out left & right — on Facebook and on G+. Should they be freaking out? Did we all opt-in to or choose this at some point? I don’t think I did. But honestly, I’m not sure. I’m not sure I was ever given a choice. But let’s say I was, and I did it. As did all my friends. Maybe we were all confused and opted in. Maybe nothing to get freaked out over.
That said, doesn’t somebody — anybody (!?) — at Facebook realize that people were going to go nuts and freak out when this happens? It’s shocking that they didn’t foresee this and explain things to people before this happened. Is somebody snorting coke over there in a rush to get features out?
For those of you have been reading my posts carefully, you’ll notice that I am not a Facebook hater. I like Facebook. I like what the service provide, and what I think they stand for and what Ithink they’re trying to do. They are a super smart group of people, who’ve made an incredible number of right moves. Why is it that they keep having these privacy gaffes? Honestly, I don’t know. You’d think they could have seen this blowup coming from a mile away.<
However, the official quote from Facebook:
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.
So everybody can stop freaking out; but you should still go remove your phone number from Facebook because of their practices of NOT allowing you to export your friend contact info. Check out this cnet article for detailed steps on how to remove your phone number from Facebook. As a comparison, look how easy it is to download your Google+ information.