Facebook mobile app auto syncs phone contacts Facebook responds to privacy concerns

15 August 2011

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Facebook users who access the website through their mobile phone’s Facebook app should expect to see their mobile phone contact details added to their profiles.

The guidance was issued by Facebook late last week after some users complained that the world’s largest social networking site was breaching their privacy.

Facebook had committed the offence, they said, by accessing and importing their mobile phone contacts, without their knowledge or consent, to their profiles.

Take control of your privacy with our guide to the Data Protection Act.

Facebook responds

In a statement posted on its website, Facebook said: '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.'

Facebook denied the charge that the contact details were available to see by all Facebook  members. 

'Rumours claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false,' the statement continued. 'Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers.’

According to Facebook, the feature allowing users to sync their mobile phone contacts with their Facebook profile has existed since January.

The feature, which also acts a backup service, allows users store a copy of their contact numbers in the unfortunate event that they lose their handset.

Disabling the feature

Users who do not wish to see their mobile phone details displayed on their profiles can disable the feature by logging into their Facebook accounts. They should then:

Click on the Account tab which is displayed on the top-right hand of the screen. Next, they should select the Edit Friends option. 

In the menu that appears on the left-hand side of the screen they should click Contacts. To disable the feature, go to the right-hand side of the screen and click on the ‘this page’ link. Follow the instructions on the page.

If the contact-sync in Facebook’s mobile app is enabled, disable it. Now click on the Remove button.

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