Outline Message circulating on Facebook warns that phone numbers belonging to all Facebook users are now being published on Facebook.
This warning is alarmist, redundant and contains inaccurate information. Facebook does have a "Phonebook" feature that may display your phone numbers and those of your Facebook friends. However, the phonebook feature is certainly not new, nor has Facebook suddenly began publishing user phone numbers for all to see as suggested in the warning message. Whether or not the phone numbers are included in the Phonebook is dependent on the privacy settings you and your friends have chosen as has always been the case with this feature.
EVERYONE'S PHONE NUMBERS ARE NOW ON FACEBOOK!! Mobile phones too! Go to top right of your screen, click Account then Edit Friends. Go to left side of your screen, click Phonebook. Everyone's phone numbers are now published. Please repost to let your friends know this is happening so they can remove their numbers. (Privacy Settings-Phone-Customize-Only ME)
This urgent-sounding warning is currently circulating rapidly around social network Facebook. The message warns Facebook users that every member's phone numbers, including mobile numbers, have now been published on the network. The message includes instructions for removing the phone numbers and asks that users repost the information as means of warning other users about this supposed security issue. A very similar message was also circulating in 2010.
However, this "warning" is overly alarmist, contains inaccurate information and is totally redundant. In fact, the message is actually rather pointless. Here's why:
The tone and phrasing of the message suggest that the inclusion of user phone numbers on Facebook is something new. It's not. In fact, the Phonebook feature mentioned in the warning has been around for years.
The message claims that every Facebook member now has his or her phone numbers published on the network. This is simply not true. Many Facebook users choose not to add their phone numbers to Facebook at all, so their numbers certainly will not be displayed. Many others control exactly who can see their phone numbers via their Privacy Settings.
The message implies that the Phonebook feature is a security risk and advises people to remove their numbers or set the phone number privacy settings to "Only Me" so that no other users can see their numbers. This assumption that the Phonebook feature is always a security risk is invalid. Many Facebook users want their friends, or at least a selected group of friends, to be able to view their phone numbers. Some may even be quite happy for everyone to see their numbers.
Thus, this rather silly message is basically bleating a breathless "warning" about an aspect of Facebook that has already been around for years and remains basically unchanged, is certainly not an inherent security risk, is viewed by many users as a handy feature rather than a security issue and is, and always has been, easily controlled via the user's privacy settings. So, in reality, much ado about nothing!
Certainly, all Facebook users should take the time to familiarize themselves with Facebook's privacy settings and ensure that their current settings offer them the level of privacy that they require. However, sending around overblown and redundant information such as this silly "Facebook Phonebook" warning, will not help your fellow Facebookers one iota.