Facebook would have your number even if you did not provide it to them.
“How so?” You ask.
Meta has its ways
Remember when back in the day you’d provide all sorts of information to Facebook to sign up? That’s how.
The services combined boast 3 billion people. So it has half of the world’s population’s contact information.
Sure, you or someone like you may not have shared their contact info to date. But that makes you only a tiny fraction who has escaped Facebook, or have you?
Because Facebook has information on you whether you use it through its tracking code. That’s why I tell people to use the Firefox browser. Have you seen buttons on websites like “share on Facebook” or “log in with Facebook”? These buttons are tracking your browsing habits.
Additional reading: To log in or not
And they follow you everywhere on the web. You have likely supplied your contact information on another website. That site probably shares user data with Facebook. And so you end up in their trap despite having avoided it.
Also, and most definitely, someone uploaded their address book to Facebook and bam! your email or phone number ends up in Meta’s database.
Since it became Meta, the company has rolled out a tool hidden deep within Facebook. Also, a help page with information for non-Meta product users about what happens when their details get uploaded to Facebook and how it treats that data, etc.
So if you are someone who’s never used WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram. and want to know if Meta has your contact details then you can use the above tool to check for it. Meta removes that information if found.
Now it’s a double-edged sword. Because to check for your email or phone number, you must provide it to the advertising giant. So it can scan its database. Here you enter the information that you guarded with your life all this time.
You enter information that may or may not be in Meta’s database. With its shady policies, on the one hand, it shows you a message that it deleted your data but can you can trust Meta? Because now that you have provided your contact details, you’ve confirmed your identity.
Cyber security analysts consider removing your number or email through Facebook too convenient. Why would a platform known for harvesting data and benefits from selling it to third parties do that? It doesn’t feel right and reeks of a nefarious intent behind it.
It’s all a show. To restore user faith in Meta and its doings. Because we hear about it getting hammered for invasion of privacy everywhere.
Suggested friends and account recommendations
The most annoying thing that Facebook does, suggests friends. Based on what criteria? You’d think maybe that friends of friends who uploaded their address book had your info. Wrong! The AI at determining who to suggest to whom works in mysterious ways. Continue to expect friend suggestions and recommendations on which Instagram accounts to follow if you dare to use the contacts removal tool.
So you can’t rest easy after removing your email or phone number. Don’t forget, it’s a tool offered by Facebook itself.