Something that's concerned me recently is "doxing" or the searching for and posting of personal information. Recently I carried out essentially an audit of my personal security online and discovered a search engine that is for exactly this purpose.

Curious, I put in my phone number and was shocked to find that this returned my Facebook profile.

I have never added my phone number to my Facebook profile, but I did have the Facebook app installed on my device previously.

How can I remove such details from my profile or at least ensure that this information is hidden better?

  • 1
    This is indeed a Facebook support question, not an InfoSec question. Facebook is the correct place to figure out how to resolve this issue.
    – Xander
    Jul 10, 2017 at 13:43
  • 11
    I believe this is a good question for InfoSec for informational purposes, to see an example of privacy protection gone awry / ignored, and why we should care about it. Yes, getting it fixed would probably be best done through Facebook support.
    – Jonathan
    Jul 10, 2017 at 14:14
  • 3
    and discovered a search engine that is for exactly this purpose would you mind sharing which one it is, I'm curious to see how I do.
    – TMH
    Jul 10, 2017 at 15:37
  • 4
    @TomHart this particular site is called pipl.com. Jul 10, 2017 at 15:40
  • 2
    @Xander - you're very likely right about that, but have you ever tried asking anything at Facebook support? They're among the least, well, supportive. Jul 10, 2017 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


There isn't much you can do about it besides deleting your Facebook profile (different from deactivating it - though I'm sure in both cases nothing is really deleted).

As for how Facebook got your number - they have a feature in their mobile apps which allows people to upload their contacts to Facebook - if many of your friends had this enabled (and the app is really pushy about enabling it), eventually Facebook will realize "that many people have this number for this person's name - it must be their number".

  • 4
    This is one more reason not to install the FB app. Of course, some phones have it pre-installed. In which case you should remove or at least disable it. Also, remember that FB owns WhatsApp. Jul 10, 2017 at 13:02
  • 13
    I'd be curious to know whether, as a European Citizen, this somehow breaches my right to privacy, given I likely never gave them permission to? Jul 10, 2017 at 13:15
  • 3
    Even if you delete your profile successfully, Facebook will still have and build your "shadow profile". dailydot.com/news/facebook-shadow-profiles-privacy-faq .
    – mgjk
    Jul 10, 2017 at 13:15
  • 3
    @S.L.Barth you're probably right about their T&C's. If there's one thing that FB are good at, it's protecting their own arses. There's very likely nothing I can do - thankfully little or no updated information is available publicly on my profile, but was just taken aback when I saw it pop up. And the upside is that no other information pops up for my phone number. Jul 10, 2017 at 13:26
  • 12
    @S.L.Barth: It doesn't matter to what terms of service Facebook made you agree. In the EU you can unilaterally revoke your permission to use personal data as long as it's not required to provide the service or if you don't want to receive the service any longer. Whether FB respects that is another matter. They've been fighting tooth and nail against this stuff in Ireland for years, dragging out the cases and making it as difficult as possible for everybody involved, which is close to saying "we know we're wrong; we just hope you give up before we have to concede to it." Jul 10, 2017 at 14:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .