Facebook lets anyone find you using your phone number — here’s how to restrict that


If you think you’ve locked down your Facebook account, you might want to think again.

There are new reports of yet another privacy concern around the social media giant — this time focused on users’ phone numbers.

Turns out, your phone number on Facebook isn’t really private. If you gave the site your digits when you signed up, that 10-digit number is in fact an ID code that can be searched for both on and off the site, according to TechCrunch.com.

Worse, Facebook doesn’t let you opt out of being found by your phone number — but you can limit who is able to do it.

Facebook scolded for allowing phone number searches

The relatively new discovery has caused some users to criticize the company, which is no stranger to allegations of less-than-stellar security.

The latest brouhaha all began when Twitter user Jeremy Burge posted that, “For years Facebook claimed [that] adding a phone number for 2FA [two-factor authentication] was only for security. Now it can be searched and there’s no way to disable that.”

In a thread, Burge also pointed out that the phone number is shared with Instagram and WhatsApp, which are both owned by Facebook.

How to make sure only ‘friends’ find you using your phone number on Facebook

You may be wondering what to do about this newfound phone number vulnerability. If you signed up for Facebook using your phone number, here are the steps you can take.

First, go to “Settings” in the right-side vertical menu and click on it.


Facebook allows some phone numbers to be searchable — and you can't disable it

Once you’re in Settings, under “Privacy Settings and Tools” you’ll see “How people find and contact you.” On that page, in the middle of the screen you’ll see “Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?”

Facebook allows some phone numbers to be searchable — and you can't disable it

You’ll then have the option of toggling between “Everyone,” “Friends of Friends” and just “Friends.” Choose the latter.

Facebook allows some phone numbers to be searchable — and you can't disable it

Final thought

If all of the privacy concerns surrounding Facebook have you ready to stop using it once and for all, you are not alone.

Here’s how to deactivate Facebook for good.

Here’s more Facebook-related content from Clark.com:

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