Phone numbers of 5.4 million Dutch people were put online last weekend, after they were captured in 2019. Facebook warns in a comment: be careful what you share publicly. What does the network actually know about you and how do you limit what others can see?
Facebook responded on Tuesday to reports from last weekend, which showed that information from 530 million Facebook users had ended up online again. This included about 5.4 million telephone numbers of Dutch people. The data came from a 2019 leak.
The information was pulled and collected from Facebook profiles prior to September 2019. Facebook says – after the information was already leaked – it has taken action, but also advises people to think carefully about what they share online.
Many people have had a profile on Facebook for years. That is why you may not remember what information you have ever entered and what you share with the company (and others). You can check and adjust everything in the Privacy check on Facebook screen.
For example, on the page you can set who can see what you share. This not only concerns telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, but also training courses, work and place of residence. In the window you can choose, for example, that everyone on Facebook can see the information or only friends. You can also ensure that only you yourself have access to the data.
Do you no longer want to share this information on Facebook at all? You can, simply by going to your profile and deleting your entered information.
Customize requests and remove linked apps
In the Privacy Control window, you can also set how people can find you on Facebook and who can send you a friend request. You can set this to ‘everyone’ or to ‘friends of friends’. You can also set whether people can visit you based on your entered email address or telephone number.
Also check out the data settings on Facebook. Here you determine which apps and websites you have ever given access to your information. Sometimes Facebook data leaks through such a third party, for example when a linked app has been hacked.
How Facebook continues to follow you on other sites
Facebook does not only know things about you that you have entered yourself. The network also tracks your online movements, such as visits you make to other websites or apps. Data is exchanged among themselves, with which Facebook compiles a profile to show advertisements that suit you. If you searched for sneakers on a website, then Facebook also knows of your interest in new shoes, so you will automatically encounter them in advertisements on the network.
Facebook shares an overview of apps and websites that share information about you with Facebook. You can view those apps and sites, but you can also delete them.
If you want more insight into which advertisers have access to your Facebook data in what way, go to the advertising preferences. Via this screen you can go to ‘Categories used to reach you’ via the ad settings. In that window you click through to a list of interests that Facebook has assigned to you, for example ‘sports’ or ‘guitars’. You can remove these interests (one by one).