How To Delete Your Phone Contacts From Facebook

Facebook's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week continues. Though the social network's "contact import" feature has been around for a very, very long time, you've probably forgotten about it. And if you want keep Facebook from filling in the gaps by collecting data about your friends from you - or worse, records of your call data - it's easy to shut your devices up.

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

What have you already told Facebook?

Screenshot: David Murphy

To get a look at the contacts you've already uploaded to Facebook, you'll want to visit Facebook's Manage Invites and Imported Contacts page. You might be slightly shocked to see open invites from many, many years ago still active - just a little head-nod to the viral aspects of the social network back when it was still getting off the ground (and more of a collegiate gathering ground than anything else). Feel free to delete these; who needs an invite to Facebook nowadays anyway?

The lower section on the page shows you all the contacts that Facebook has imported from you - which sounds ominous, but it's a practice you likely gave the service permission to do at some point in your Facebook history. One hopes.

Screenshot: David Murphy

You can go through these contacts name by name if you really want, but it's probably better to just delete them all in one big swoop. Click on the "Remove all contacts" link, confirm the deletion by hitting "Remove", and take a small moment to yourself while Facebook purges this data - again, one hopes.

Screenshot: David Murphy

While your mass-deletion will make Facebook's "friend suggestion" tool less useful, that's a small price to pay for helping your friends out by not sharing information about them that they have chosen not to share with Facebook themselves. Finding friends on Facebook is easy; becoming a good data steward is a little trickier, but totally achievable.

Screenshot: David Murphy

You can also perform the same trick for contacts you've uploaded via Facebook's Messenger app. Just click on this link to see your data dump.

As before, you can delete all the contacts, which will make Facebook's friend recommendations less useful and also help keep the social giant from learning more about your friends than they wanted it to know - at least, from you.

Don't automatically re-upload your contacts

One little quirk about Facebook is that if you've already turned on the setting that allows your device to automatically import your friends' contact information to Facebook, deleting this information won't do any good - it will just re-sync the next time you use the app. Let's fix that.

Within the Facebook app, tap on the hamburger icon. On Android, you'll be looking for the App Settings option. On iOS, you'll have to tap on Settings toward the bottom of the screen, then Account Settings, then General.

Screenshot: David Murphy

In either version of the app, you'll then look for an option about Uploading Contacts - likely with the subheader "Automatically upload new and updated contacts". Tap that, and flip it off to prevent Facebook from automatically repopulating the contacts you just deleted.

And because Facebook makes this process as easy as possible, you'll also have to to pull up the separate Messenger app and toggle a similar switch there. Once you're in Messenger, tap on your profile picture in the upper-left corner of the app. Look for the People option on the "Me" screen, tap it, and then de-select the option to "Sync Contacts".

Screenshot: David Murphy


Comments

    I need help someone has stolen my facebook account my hotmail email was deleted and Yahoo added I have never had a Yahoo acc please help my I have been trying for 5hours trying to contact fb fi report itinerary need to talk to someone urgently because they are sending messages to my fb friends through my
    messenger

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