How to remove your email contacts from Facebook

While not entirely an Apple related post there is a small part that gives you a tip on how you can remove your contact list from your iPhone. Basically when you join Facebook, especially when you use a mobile device, they ask for access to your contact list to help find friends who are already registered for the site. While this can be a great way to get started finding friends, but our issue is that they keep these uploaded contacts on their servers.

Why does Facebook want a copy of my email contacts?

There are a number of reasons as to why Facebook might want your email contact list:

  • helps them find your friends when you are registering, to get your account started
  • they already have an idea of your social network, even before you add any friends
  • friends who join Facebook at a later can then pop up in your feed as they’ve just joined.

It was actually the last part that happened to me, as I saw that someone with no friends joined, but they still popped up that I should perhaps connect with them.

How to stop Facebook storing your email contacts

Thankfully there is a way to request that Facebook deletes this data, this is the direct link. Finding this link on your own hand is a little bit more tricky

  1. Logon on to facebook
  2. Click the find friends on the top right side of the page
  3. Then delete the browser part of the URL to get
  4. Click on See how it works
  5. Then click on remove them completely
If this is a bit too much for you you can go to the page by clicking the image below.

Once you click it, you will get the message below. We are still waiting to see how long this takes,  it doesn’t happy instantly, which you would expect that it’s a simply operation on their database. You’d think that Facebook would be able to invest some of their world class programmers to make sure this is swift.

Note for iPhone users

Facebook’s app for your iPhone is another way where Facebook syncs your email contacts with their database. Where it gets sneaky is that is does this on an on-going basis. So as soon as you email someone new, Facebook potentially has that information !

iPhone users: Removed contacts will be re-imported automatically unless you turn off syncing by going to Facebook App > Friends > Sync

Keep your email contacts private

If you want to stop unwittingly sharing your private email contacts with Facebook then we urge you to at least think about taking back control of your email contacts.

2 Replies to “How to remove your email contacts from Facebook”

  1. Thanks for the tip, maybe I’m a little naive to think that they would have deleted them . Why do they store them, that’s what I want to know.

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