Facebook appears to have quietly introduced a feature that lets users delete other people’s contact information. This includes phone numbers and email addresses.

Business Insider broke the news of the tool’s existence last week. It is hidden inside a Help Center page on “Friending” on Facebook. It is made available so that “Non-users” can “exercise their rights under applicable legislation.”

According to a Wayback Machine search, the choice has been available at least since May 29, 2022.        

Pointing up the privacy infringement that results from the contacts‘ lack of explicit consent to the upload when users sync the contact lists on their devices with Facebook (or any other service) is important.

Facebook warns on the page that someone may have uploaded their address book to Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram with your contact information in it. You can inquire about our records of your phone number or email address.

If data is already on Facebook or Instagram, it can be asked to be removed from the address book database. But, according to Meta, this requires adding a copy of the phone number or email address to a block list that the firm maintains in order to prevent the data from being re-uploaded.

In other words, even if the material is in a different format. Facebook may still have the contact details of those who want to have them deleted from the network.

The Final Remarks

Despite being primarily targeted at non-users, the application gives any user the ability to block this information from being shared from their friends’ contact lists, much like TrueCaller’s Unlisting capabilities.

As Business Insider notes, the development is just another example of a corporation admitting that it gathered data that shouldn’t have been gathered. And delegating the task of having them removed to the users.

It also serves as a reminder of the value of networked privacy. It is necessary to provide consumers with more control over what information is shared or uploaded about them.