Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has quietly launched a new service that allows people to check whether the company has their contact details, such as their phone number or email address, and to delete or block them if necessary.
When a Facebook friend shares his or her address book with Facebook, that person has also shared your information if your information is in that person’s address book. The company explains that even if you have not signed up for any core Meta service, such as the Facebook app, Messenger, or Instagram, the company may still have your contact information because it is stored in a user’s address book.
The tool is said to have been available since May 2022, and the company has a new tool that allows users to check if Facebook has this data, allowing a non-user to mitigate some of the damage that is aimed at people who have never used Meta’s apps.
If you want to search for a phone number, landline number, or email address uploaded by a friend who uses Meta’s core apps, Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram, the service will ask you.
Meta has not officially talked about how its blocklist works, but you can enter any contact information that you think has been uploaded to Meta’s services. It takes a few seconds for Meta to search for that information, and if it finds it, it will ask you if you want to block that contact information.
The feature is well hidden and appears to be accessible only via a link embedded in a rather obscure page in Facebook’s help section for non-users. The linked text does not mention that you are being sent to a privacy tool and it says: “Click here if you have a question about the rights you may have.”
The sources for this piece include an article in MSN.