Even if you haven’t created an account on a social media site, they might have a hidden profile with more details than you’d believe. Sneaky, right?
That’s why you should say no thanks when an app offers to take in your contacts to find all your friends. It’s not your info to give away.
If you use social media, it’s worth clearing out all the things (and people) you’ve looked up. Here are easy steps to save yourself some potential embarrassment later.
Perhaps you deleted Facebook years ago or never made one. Meta might still have your cell number, landline, or email address.
The shady side of social media
Over the years, most of us have willingly overshared. Hopefully, you’ve removed your phone number and email address from your social media profiles.
Even if your account is private, anybody can take a screenshot. If you have any contact information in your profile, delete it now.
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Those hidden accounts I mentioned are called Shadow Profiles. They exist thanks to all your contacts who passed along things like your full name, birthday, phone number, email address, and maybe even more.
Messenger and Facebook app logos are displayed on a mobile phone screen for illustration photo. Krakow, Poland on January 23, 2023. ((Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images))
If someone you know shared their address book with Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, Meta probably has your details. Good news: You can remove them.
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Opt me out, please
First, head to this help page for non-Meta users. There’s an important line buried under the heading, How Non-Users can exercise their rights:
- “Click here if you have a question about the rights you may have.”
That links to a contact removal tool, where you can ask Meta to delete your information from its address book database. Yeah, they don’t make it super easy to find.
Meta WhatsApp (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Here’s how to delete your contact information from Meta:
- Go to facebook.com/contacts/removal.
- Select the type of information you want to remove. Choose from a mobile number, landline or email address, then hit Next.
- Enter your phone number and/or email address to get a confirmation code.
- Select the platform you want it removed from (Facebook and Messenger or Instagram), or select All.
- Click Next and enter the confirmation code on the next screen. Hit Next one last time.
- If something is found, hit Confirm to delete the data.
- Hit Close on the next screen, or use the link to search for another number or email.
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You can still use the removal tool if you have a Facebook account, but there are more steps you should take to protect your privacy.
Tap or click here for 10 Facebook privacy and security settings you need to change.
Keep your tech-know going
In this photo illustration, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on a video displayed on a smartphone screen as he announces the new name for Facebook: Meta. (Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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