Facebook entered damage control mode again this week when users began circulating warnings of the social media site sharing user phone numbers publicly.
With a posting on the Facebook fan page, the social media giant took action Wednesday to debunk the viral rumour it had made the numbers of phone contacts visible for any user to see. The posting cleared the air on a feature called "Contacts," which does not disclose such information any more than it had previously been doing.
"Rumors claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false," said the company's post. "Our Contacts list, formerly called Phonebook, has existed for a long time. The phone numbers listed there were either added by your friends themselves and made visible to you, or you have previously synced your phone contacts with Facebook. Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers."
The warnings being posted in earnest read something like this : "ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS of your contacts are now on Facebook!… please repost this on your status, so friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published."
Meredith Chin, a Facebook spokesperson, has no idea what sparked the rumour but hopes to stop it from snowballing. In a Wall Street Journal story, Chen explains the Contacts feature displays a list of friends that includes names and phone numbers, preventing users from having to pull such information from individual user profiles.
Facebook has used its own fan page to dispel controversial myths and rumours quite a few times, addressing such issues when they receive an influx of emails or if they notice a trend among users.