How to Remove Your Imported Contacts from Facebook

Facebook gets such a bad reputation for privacy and security issues because they implement new features without gaining permission from users, rather than giving us a chance to decide if a new feature is something we’re interested in. Case in point?  Today I found out that Facebook took it upon itself to import all the contacts from my mobile phone into my Facebook account’s phonebook. I was not aware that I had a phonebook on Facebook, nor do I even want one.  It was just plain weird to see my ophthalmologist listed among my high school friends, as if I call him regularly just to chat.

Should you decide to remove this feature, you are warned that “friend suggestions for you and your friends may be become less relevant” and that “your phonebook will no longer include synced contacts, but will display the contact info of friends who have included it on their profiles”.  Which is fine by me – I don’t need Facebook helping me find friends, and if someone I know wants everyone to have their phone number, that’s up to them.

If you want to disable this feature, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Before you do anything, you’ll need to turn off the auto-sync feature on your mobile phone. For an Android phone, go to Menu>Settings>Account and Sync>and uncheck the Auto-Sync box. For iPhones, open the Facebook application for your phone, then you’ll need to click on the “Friends” icon, and then click “Sync”.
  2. Go to your Facebook homepage on your computer, and click on Account>Edit Friends>Contacts. You’ll see a full listing of all your phone’s contacts, mobile and home phone numbers included. On the right-hand side of this page, you’ll see a link to click on to get the process of removal started.
  3. You’ll receive a message from Facebook informing you when the removal is complete. Once you have confirmation, go back and turn on your syncing again.

Did you know your contacts were being imported without your permission? Do you think Facebook respects your privacy?

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Angela Skinner Mullen
Angela leads a caffeine-fueled life chasing her kids around town. She holds degrees in Communications and Marketing, and worked in marketing management in both publishing and technology fields before going freelance. While some think she is obsessive-compulsive about correct usage and grammar, she prefers to think of herself as paying great attention to detail. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two kids, two cats, a frog, and a very large dog. Most likely to be found working from a Coffee Bean in Los Angeles, laptop on and latte in hand.

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