Beware! If you are opening your Facebook account through your mobile phone’s Facebook app, you may be surprised to find your phonebook contacts imported into your Facebook account on the web.
A concerned resident wrote to The Peninsula to raise the alarm about what she claimed as the Facebook management invading the privacy of users by importing the phonebook contacts to their accounts without their prior knowledge.
Initially, Facebook used to do a one-way sync wherein the information of people who are listed as your Facebook friends and who are also present in your mobile phone’s contact list can be merged for easy access.
Recently, Facebook users have discovered that the names and phone numbers of people who are not listed in their Facebook Friend list and who may not even have a Facebook account are
“Surprisingly Facebook never alerted anyone and this is the biggest invasion of privacy I have ever come across,” said the letter. According to Washington Post, Facebook has come out with a statement on its company page defending this facility.
“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. Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers,” the statement said.
However, many Facebook mobile users in the country especially those whose native tongue is Arabic believe that Facebook should also put a warning notice in Arabic if they want to sync or access any information stored on the mobile phone.
“The problem is the message that pops up when FB is accessing my phone is in English and written in fine print. Most people in this part of the world are Arabic speakers and may not understand what the message means so they just click yes without knowing the consequences,” said a long-time Facebook user.
Still another user added, “I think FB is missing the point. Saying that it’s only visible to the same people doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t want FB to have this information at all, and that should be my choice. When I access the app on my mobile phone, there should be explicit choice in the app to turn this on/off when you first open it.”
“What if your Facebook account gets hacked? Then the hacker can easily access my contact list,” said a Blackberry user you frequently uses the Facebook mobile app on his smartphone.
Facebook has already provided an option where users can remove the mobile contacts from their phone. Users can log on to their Facebook accounts and on the top-right corner of the screen, they can click on Account tab and select the Edit Friends option.
In the menu on the left side of the screen, click on Contacts. You will see all the numbers from your phone contacts, regardless whether they’re your Facebook friends or not.
To remove this, go to the right side of the screen and click on the “this page” link. Follow the instructions on this page. You’ll have to disable the contact-sync in Facebook’s mobile app if its enabled. Then click the Remove button.