It is well known that Meta stores a lot of data about its users. On the other hand, what is much less well known is that Mark Zuckerberg’s group may be in possession of your phone number even if you have never registered with any of their applications. We explain how and, most importantly, the method to remove it from the company’s databases.
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We’re not going to teach you anything by telling you that Meta generally knows who you are. Since the advent of social networks in our lives – and even before that, in fact – many of us have more or less voluntarily shared our personal data with the giants of the internet. Of course, via Facebook and Instagram, Meta is in pole position on this question, so even the company cannot say what will become of this collected information.
Worse, the company is also notorious for collecting data from people who aren’t even registered on its social networks. This applies in particular to telephone numbers. It is therefore possible that Meta is currently storing your number even if you have never dealt with any of their services. Fortunately, it is now possible to check whether your number is in the hands of the group and, even better, delete it from their databases.
Why check if Meta knows your phone number?
This may seem obvious to some, but it’s important to remember that Meta derives much of its revenue from reselling its users’ personal information… but not only. Whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram or even Messenger, the company can indeed ask its users to access their phone contacts to officially find their loved ones more easily in the application in question.
Through this, therefore, Meta collects a gigantic amount of information, both about 3 billion users collected on all its services and about the relatives of the latter. And if the resale of your personal information isn’t an issue that affects you, you should also know that the company’s databases are regularly hacked, exposing the many phone numbers they contain.
For example, last year no fewer than 533 million users saw their phone number resold after another gigantic leak on Telegram. It goes without saying that the people redeeming these numbers are not particularly full of good intentions. Once in their possession, they can be used to coordinate phishing campaigns and other scams designed to empty victims’ bank accounts.
How to remove your phone number from Facebook and Instagram
So here are some of the reasons that might convince you to check out a (not so) new tool from Meta. In fact, very discreetly, the company has made available to Internet users a platform that allows them to check for themselves whether the company knows their phone number or not. Of course, for WhatsApp users, the question does not arise, since the application requires you to enter your number to work.
But for everyone else it may be interesting to try the experiment and, if necessary, take the steps to remove their number from the meta-databases. Note that Meta was careful not to communicate about the feature when it launched last May. For example, on Facebook it is available by going to help pagesthen in How to: > Add Friends > Maybe You Know > Information for Non-Meta Users > How non-users exercise their data subject rightsthen finally click on the link Click here.
Nothing tracked? It’s normal that Meta obviously doesn’t want you to know about this very handy tool. So there is a much easier solution: follow this short tutorial. Here is the procedure to follow:
- Go to the platform by clicking this link
- Select the information you want to review: Mobile, landline or email address
- Click on Following
- Click on To edit and select that french numbers
- Give her phone number in the search bar
- Select the apps you want to scan between Facebook, Messenger and Instagram
- Click on Following
- Enter the Verification code received by SMS
- Click on To confirm to remove your phone number from meta databases