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Facebook has a secret tool to delete your phone number from its database

Updated Nov 23rd, 2022 9:10AM EST
phone home screen with instagram
Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Chances are that if you have a Facebook account, then Facebook’s parent company Meta has your contact information. Even if you chose not to share that data, some of your friends have likely shared their address books with Facebook. If so, Meta has those details in its database. The good news is that Facebook made a tool that allows users to search its database to find and delete that data, but you probably didn’t know it existed until now.

According to Insider, this data deletion tool has been available on Facebook since May 2022. Facebook never made a public announcement about it, though. That’s why none of us had heard about it until articles started cropping up this week.

As Insider notes, the link to the secret tool is embedded 780 words into a support article on the Facebook Help Center. If you click that link, it will take you to this page.

On that page, you can search Meta’s database to find out whether or not the company has your phone number or email address. If it does, you can request its deletion. Meta will also add that data to its block list to prevent it from being uploaded again.

How to delete your phone number from Facebook

The process is fairly self-explanatory, but here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Visit Facebook’s contact removal page in your browser.
  2. Choose the contact information that you want to search for in Meta’s database (mobile number, landline phone number, or email address), and click Next.
  3. Enter the phone number or email address you want Meta to look for, and then choose to search on Facebook and Messenger or on Instagram.
  4. After a few seconds, you should receive a confirmation code on your phone or in your email.
  5. Meta will then ask if you want it to delete and block the phone number or email address from its address book database. Click Confirm if you’re ready.

There’s no telling how much data Meta actually has on any of it, or what this tool really does. That said, if it makes you feel better to take some control back, there’s no harm in trying. We hope to see more tools like this in the future and less potential tax documents being shared on Facebook.


Related: Facebook was making people feel like crap from the very beginning

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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