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Overblown Warning - Phone Numbers Now On Facebook

Outline
Message circulating on Facebook warns that phone numbers belonging to all Facebook users are now being published on Facebook.



Brief Analysis
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.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 18th February 2011
First published: 18th February 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
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)

Facebook Phone Number Warning




Detailed Analysis
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: 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.

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References
ALERT: Facebook Phonebook Is Not A Security Threat

Last updated: 18th February 2011
First published: 18th February 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer