How to remove your phone number or email from Facebook, even if you have no account
Social sites such as Facebook require that users provide them with some data on sign up; this usually involves handing over a phone number or email address, name, and other personal information. Users may add more personal information to their profiles, including a list of their contacts; this is done, usually, by either allowing the site to access an address book or by allowing it to connect to another app or service, which provides the information.
Facebook's parent company Meta may have information, such as the email address or phone number, of users who never signed up for the service. If a contact of a non-Facebook user uploaded their address book to the site, Meta now stores the information on its servers.
Meta, Facebook's parent company, published a tool in mid-2022 to remove personal information from the site and have it blocked. Meta did not announce the tool and it is not widely known. MSN reports that it is only found as a link on a support page for "people who don't use Meta Products".
The link, which you may access here directly, works for Facebook users and people who do not have an account at the site. It is a lookup tool that requires that users enter their email address or phone number. Some may not want to do provide Facebook with the information in first place, especially since there is no information on the page about data processing.
What contact info would you like us to look for?
Someone may have uploaded their address book to Facebook, Messenger or Instagram with your contact information in it. You can ask us to confirm whether we have your phone number or email address.
If we do, you can request that we delete it from our address book database. To prevent it from being uploaded to this database again through someone’s address book, we need to keep a copy in our block list.
If you'd like us to delete and block more than one type of contact information, we need to confirm each separately.
The tool supports searching for mobile and landline phone numbers, and an email address. Each checks a single number or email address; if you want to check multiple email addresses or more than one of the available contact information, you need to use the tool multiple times.
Once you have made the selection on the first page and selected the next button, you are asked to provide the data. If you select mobile number, you are asked to type it and select where you want Meta to search for the number. Options are Facebook and Messenger as a single group, and Instagram. WhatsApp is not included and neither are other Meta products.
The scan may take a couple of seconds. If the entered data is in one of the searched databases, Meta provides an option to remove it from the database and add it to the company's blocklist. The blocklist, supposedly, blocks Meta services from adding the number or email address again via uploads.
Meta does not reveal how the blocklist works. It is not clear if the entered data is added to the blocklist in plaintext or if another system, hashing comes to mind, is used instead.
People who are concerned that Meta has their phone numbers or email addresses may use the tool to check whether that is the case. If data is found, it may be deleted and Meta will put it on a blocklist to prevent that it will be added again in the future.
It is unclear how the blocklist works and what kind of information Meta writes to it. Users from the European Union and some other regions may request the removal of personal data from Meta instead under the GDPR.
Now You: do you use Meta products such as Facebook?
Meh.. writing about such privacy items and in the same time ghacks uses google tag manager and google analytics. Shame..
So, I entered by email address and clicked to clear it off Facebook and Messenger. ‘Something went wrong’ came the uninformative reply.
I entered a phone number and an email address and the tool worked for each one. I then tried two other email address and received the ‘something went wrong’ message in both cases. I’m going to try it again later.
This is dumb, I’m not inputting my details into their website just to see if they are stored there or not.
This is really one of the most idiotic “privacy” tip one could give.
By typing them in, you ensure you are giving your details to them, just because on your end it says “deleted”, doesn’t mean on their end it says “deleted”… on their end it says “information stored successfully”.
I don’t even authorize Discord servers with my phone number, if I can use some online throwaway number for registrations, I would use that, but never my own.
What vexes me is that people actually believe that when you prompt to have your information deleted from a website or a service, it really gets deleted… No it isn’t, they still have it, they just lie to you that they have deleted it for you so you can rest safe.
Correct, people need to learn what soft delete is.
Submitting your info manually will actually confirm the info stored in their database is valid.
Facebook is evil. And Meta means “death” in hebrew language. That’s all folks!
Thanks for the article!
I’m not arguing about the evilness of Facebook. But why is it relevant what “meta” means in a random language?
@PLI, just to point out the crude imagination of Zuckenberg! Oh come on, open your mind.
Yeah, seems legit: provide your email and phonenumber here in this thing owned by Facebook to check and see if we have your info. Congrats! We did not. But NOW WE DO!
OK Non-user of Facebook. It found my phone number, asked if I want it deleted and blocked then said it did it.
The result seems to indicate Facebook is attempting to correct its misappropriation of data but it also gives me reasons to suspect Facebook leaking data that it should not have gained in the first place is a possible source of scams and spam to my phone. Alternatively, that may be caused by leaks from the hundred or so other sites.
Social Media is the largest STD ever. We need to cure it.
This should work by providing hashes.
OK, Facebook. Now provide a way to remove our photos that billions of clueless people have handed over to you.
Are you really one of those that believe that this “feature” mentioned in the article really deletes things?
It was sarcasm, Jek.
Now You: do you use Meta products such as Facebook?
I dont think so. FB dies slowly, because has many years on the web, time for retirement. Many other social media rising so high, that is useless to have Fb. Maybe another platforms in the future, we will see.
This is how they get people to come back and verify their info.
Well, nice way of Facebook to get your information and who you are.
You just need to give them your data! lol
And what are you going to do when you find out your email and phone numbers are attached to it?
I have had people create Facebook messenger accounts with my email, and then I have to request it to get deleted, and they never do anything, I have sent the ‘confirmation email’ to show it is my email so they should remove it from the system.
Guess what? I have to get in Facebook, reset password and close the account myself and hope nobody opens a new one soon.
Last time the account was locked and was asking for a photo! and what did I do? I used a photo from the internet for someone with the same name and apparently the system is so stupid it worked but I am glad it worked so I could close the account because Meta… Facebook doesn’t care to do what they say they would do.
So this is pretty much useless and it will give Meta more of your data, I doubt they will care to remove anything at all.
FaceBUTT is very evil, but it is free advertising for my insurance business if they would give it out. I remember when we all had our names in the telephone book, with the number and address.
Sure. OK. Give FB my data so they can “delete” it while saying they will need to keep that data in a “block list” to insure it stays “deleted”. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything.
If Facebook find a match for the phone number or email address, they say the following:
“Confirm that we should delete this number from our address book database. We’ll also block it from being uploaded again.”
However, if they do not find a match they say “We couldn’t find this email address” and there is just an OK button.
So, how do people proactively block their details from being uploaded if someone hasn’t *already* uploaded them? Do people have to keep checking every single week to ensure someone doesn’t upload their contact details to Facebook? There should be a way to block contact details from being uploaded even if someone hasn’t already uploaded them. Or even better, Facebook should not be collecting this data in the first place.
I followed the link, and filled out a request to remove my number. I was getting calls asking me if it was Venezuela embassy lol. Like, x400 calls.. hopefully, they’ll remove my number.