Facebook is in the news a lot and lately it seems like the company’s privacy policies (or lack thereof) have been the reason why. Earlier this summer, users were up in arms over being automatically tagged in photos with its Facial Recognition feature, and now, the PR department is hard at work again dispelling rumors that it’s publicly publishing users’ phone numbers.
In the past couple weeks, Facebook users have been stunned to discover that when you go to your Contacts page here, you can automatically see everyone’s phone numbers. The first question is – how did they get there? There are many people who avoid putting their phone number anywhere in plain sight, but all of a sudden, there it is for the world to see. How? And can everyone see them? Those are some of the questions at hand. Now, onto the answers.
Unbeknownst to many users, when you sync Facebook with your smartphone, phone numbers are automatically imported (either that or people actually do include them in their profiles). Facebook, in response to the melee, has publicly declared that these numbers are only for you to see, also emphasizing that this feature has been in place for a while. It posted the following status update on its profile page:
If you’re still concerned about these mobile numbers being broadcasted for the world to see, you can remove them by visiting this link.
Judging from the 10,000+ comments made to the status update above, people are dismayed and creeped out by Facebook's policies. One user writes, "Facebook never held any high standards about user privacy...I listed my number as visible to only me but Facebook CHANGED that to friends only. I think the lesson to learn is that you have to pretty much assume that anything you post here will be misused. If it is not, you are lucky. Just don't post anything you don't want to be misused."
Is this going to change your Facebooking ways?