I have noticed that Facebook has been recently recommending people who have texted me. It has been able to connect their number (I believe most of these people are using iPhone) and connect their Facebook profile to mine.

How is this happening? How does Facebook access these texts and connect them to users?

Furthermore, how can I stop this? Obviously my security setting have failed somewhere.

I use an iPhone 4, Chrome and Safari on my Macbook Pro, mid-12, OS X Yosemite 10.10.4.

EDIT: Based on questions, I do not have the Facebook app and I do not have Whatsapp. On my iPhone, I have Safari, Google Chrome and DuckDuckGo, but I have never accessed Facebook via my iPhone. All people being recommended online are individuals I have contacted via iMessages. How is Facebook getting this information?

EDIT 2: I think we've established FB must be using iMessages. Probably these individuals have the FB app downloaded to their phone, and FB is accessing their iMessages and connecting us. How is FB doing this? What are the internal dynamics at play here? Facebook accesses their SMS data?

EDIT 3: In order to discuss the dynamics of how the Facebook app accesses smartphone data, I've opened up a new (but related) question here: How does the Facebook App on iPhone access the SMS data from iMessages? What are the details?

  • 5
    do you have the Facebook app or Messenger on your iPhone?
    – schroeder
    Aug 13, 2015 at 19:03
  • 3
    Or do you have WhatsApp on your phone? Aug 13, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    @S.L.Barth No, not anymore. I deleted it months ago. People I have met since are now being recommended. I only have contacted them via iMessages and I have no Facebook app. How could Facebook be accessing this information? Aug 13, 2015 at 19:35
  • 2
    @ShanZhengYang do you have your phone number in your Facebook profile? If so, then I'd guess that if your contacts use the facebook app. it may be connecting you in that fashion... Aug 13, 2015 at 19:48
  • 1
    @RоryMcCune Absolutely not. Aug 13, 2015 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


It's entirely possible that this has no bearing on your own devices or settings. Let's talk about the way one could go about designing that feature:

Consider all connections one or two steps away. From those who have enabled syncing their contacts, consider those with a fuzzily matched name. Factored with some other heuristic scoring, you start seeing people you know in your feed based on information that didn't source from you.

From their own page: We show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you’re part of, contacts you’ve imported and many other factors. and When your friends join Facebook, they can invite their friends to join too. Their invitation emails can include suggestions of other people you may know who may have invited you in the past. This helps you find your friends on Facebook quickly so you can start sharing with them if you decide to join.


Thus, there's no inherent implication that something is wrong with your security settings, particularly on an iPhone.

  • I would add that if any of people you text have given any of the Facebook apps access to their SMS history, then Facebook has the data. Aug 13, 2015 at 20:09
  • This could very well be. You are suggesting that these individuals have the Facebook app and that is how Facebook has found me? It's odd. Some of these people I just texted twice. We met in a bar, and I didn't even remember there names, or that they had moved across the country. Somehow, Facebook is finding me (or connecting us) through iMessages.... Aug 13, 2015 at 20:18
  • What is odd is that Facebook suddenly has discovered everyone who has contacted me via SMS/iMessages in the past two years. Does anyone understand how Facebook's algorithms work? Has it suddenly made the connection my name (i.e. FB profile) and my cellphone number? Aug 14, 2015 at 2:41

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