Is Facebook Accessing Your Phone Contacts?

For many of us, Facebook is a part of everyday life. This is especially true for those of us who are living abroad. Social media can be a great place to meet new friends, keep in touch with our old ones, and find out new things about our new homes. You may even have found and shared this article on Facebook! However, recently – and perhaps with good reason – questions are being asked about our privacy on Facebook, especially mobile. This is complicated further as the social media giant also owns WhatsApp.

As it is a free service we can of course expect to see adverts from time to time, but recently there have been talks of the Facebook app accessing your phone contacts. This is in order to make the app extra ‘useful’ and do things like recommend friends you might know based on whose telephone numbers you have. This explains why you suddenly get friend ‘suggestions’ for people that Facebook shouldn’t know you know but whose numbers you have saved, like new colleagues, doctors, or tradesmen. For some this feels like a step too far, so here’s a step-by-step of how to turn this feature off.


(These are the exact steps for turning off the feature on iPhone – the steps may differ slightly on another OS!)

Step 1

You only have to turn this feature off if you are using the app. Click the settings menu on the bottom right and scroll all the way down. Go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Account Settings’

Step 2FB3

Click ‘General’ and you’ll see your personal information. Select the section about halfway down titled ‘Upload Contacts’.

Step 3

If this is unchecked, then great – your phone hasn’t been syncing your contacts to your Facebook app. Just click the slider to turn this feature off if your Facebook has been syncing, and breathe a sigh of relief!

If you want to keep a tighter control over what data Facebook is storing and sharing with other apps then you can find some more tips here.

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