Facebook users are reposting status updates erroneously warning each other that the site shows contacts’ phone numbers, and that they can be hidden by using the privacy settings.
The following message is going up on the site at a rate of once every minute as of this writing (we’ve left all the punctuation and capital letters intact):
ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS of your contacts are now on facebook! go tothe top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. you will see all phone numbers from your cell phone (FB friends or not) are published that you have stored inyour mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to the right column, click on “thispage.” please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.
While we dig the sense of community Facebook users exhibit, along with anything that gets more people to use the site’s privacy settings, we don’t understand what’s making people worry about this now.
And Facebook spokespeople cleared the air with an official post saying the rumor is untrue:
Rumors claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false. 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.
We think the erroneous phone number warnings might have come from folks who just started using Facebook Messenger during the past 24 hours.
Erroneousness aside, it is a tad bit ironic that many of the individuals posting these warnings don’t appear to be using the privacy settings to limit visibility of other things on their profiles — like only allowing friends to see statuses (Otherwise, we’d never have been able to capture the screenshot below).
Readers, have you seen any of these viral warnings in your friends’ status updates?