Facebook has temporarily disabled reverse number search, although it still works with users who have their numbers published in the profile.
Apparently, as reported in arstechnica.com they are working on a new option that allows you to decide if a number can be tracked or not by reverse searching.
As many will know, Facebook can request a mobile number to verify an account, it is a measure that seeks to avoid automatic registrations and similar abuses. In fact, when you try to set up a username for the first time (facebook.com/username), you need to provide a phone number:
The number can also be requested if suspicious activity is detected on the account or during registrations from certain countries.
Now Facebook is a social network and by default you want our number to be public so that our friends can find us more easily, that's why we can see messages like the following:
If we accept it or leave the box checked, the number will appear published in our profile in full view of all our friends. This may or may not be a good thing … it all depends on each one and the degree of privacy you want to have.
Other messages like this may also appear:
Personally I recommend that the number is not public especially in profiles of minors and women why? Because in the network there is a lot of crazy on the loose and to avoid problems it is the best, beyond that if they want to get a number in one way or another they get it … but the less things are made easier the better.
Of course, it all depends on each case and the use that is given to Facebook.
How to hide the mobile number or check if it is public?
It is very easy, just access the section Information of your profile where your data appears and verify the following:
Next to your number should appear a padlock with the legend Just me, this means that the number can only be seen by you in the profile, none of your friends will be able to see it directly. To change this option, simply click on Edit.
Now comes the interesting part … the number is not as private as you think:
Although it is true that the number will not appear published in the profile, by default any person could associate it with your account by typing it in the search engine.
Just as you can search for friends by first and last name, you can also search by e-mail and phone number. The following is a real example, I just entered a mobile number and Facebook returned a result:
This person not part of my contactsand in your profile does not share the number publiclythat is to say it has it configured as Just me. You can still determine that this account is associated with that number.
Curiously, this number belongs to a journalist that I usually listen to on the radio and the profile I found is not personal, but is a profile that works like the fanpage of a political party. In other words, it could be considered as an anonymous profile since there is no first and last name behind, but because of the number I now know who it is, beyond the same number can be used to verify more than one account.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with this but it is a clear example that the mobile number is not as private as one would tend to think when setting it to Just me. In fact it is not private … it is public.
What's going on Is it a Facebook mistake? How do I hide my number?
It is not a mistake, it is a Facebook cheat so that people can find and add more easily.
If we go to the privacy section, in Home / Privacy settings we will see a section called How do you connect. From there you can configure that the number cannot be searched by anyone:
The options available as you can see are 3: All, Friends of friends and friends… the safest is the last one:
I don't understand why Facebook doesn't offer the option Just me so that no one – not even our best friends – can associate a phone with our account. I think that option should be available, at least for those users who only enter a mobile number as an account recovery option …
In the meantime, I recommend checking these and all privacy options …
Related: – 3 friends can change your password on Facebook – Fake mobile phone checks on Facebook (watch out)