Facebook phonebook is a feature, not a threat

Posted by on October 7, 2010 in Social Media | 0 comments

I've been seeing over the few months on Facebook numerous status updates and posts on friends' walls about what a threat or invasion of privacy having your phone number available through Facebook is. To respond to some of the misinformation that is out there, I figured I'd find some information available to clear up any confusion so that everyone can make an informed decision and take the the necessary action steps if you decide to do so. Below is an article available at All Facebook.

ALERT: The Facebook Phonebook Is A Feature, Not A Threat

Posted by Nick O'Neill on October 4th, 2010 7:46 PM
-Error Icon-Looks like Facebook users are being duped again. This time, thousands of users believe that their phone numbers are being exposed in a way that puts them at risk. Fortunately, this is not the case, however that isn’t stopping thousands of people from posting the message below. Many users are posting updates that state: YOUR PHONE NUMBER IS NOW ON FACEBOOK!! Seriously, go to the top right of your screen, click Account then Edit Friends. Go to the left side of your screen and click Phonebook. Everyone’s phone numbers are now being published. Please repost to let your friends know this is happening so …they can remove them.See More This message first began spreading back in June, however as of today it appears that the message has experienced a resurgence in volume. For those who aren’t aware, the “Facebook phonebook” is a feature that enables you to easily keep track of your friends’ phone numbers, including the ability to sync it with your own mobile devices. Want to hide your phone number anyways?

How To Hide Your Phone Number On Facebook

If for some reason you don’t want all of your friends viewing your phone number (I personally limit it to my family and close friends), you have two options: remove it from your profile or use Facebook’s privacy settings. The problem with not entering your phone number is that Facebook actually uses the number to verify that it’s your actual account. As such, I don’t recommend using this model. Instead, go to the privacy settings area (found here) and click on the custom tab on the left, and then on the “Customize Settings” link, as pictured below. Custom Privacy 2 Steps After you’ve landed on the custom privacy settings page, scroll down to the “Contact Information” area. In that area you’ll see settings for each of your contact items including your phone, address, IM screen name, and any email addresses you have added to your account. You can customize who can view each piece of information by clicking on the drop down box next to “Mobile phone” or “Other phone” and then select “Custom”. Once you do that, you should see the following dialog box: Custom Privacy Dialog Ultimately it’s up to you how you set your phone number visibility, however I have limited my number to friends only. If you want to get really specific with the people who can view your phone number you can select the option “Specific People…” and then manually type in the name of each person who can have access to your phone number. Alternatively, you can block anybody on the site (including your friends) from seeing your phone number by selecting the option “Only Me”.

Conclusion

You are now safe! While you shouldn’t be concerned about the phonebook being a security issue, you now can protect yourself further if you haven’t limited your phone visibility to your friends.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

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