How to delete address, cell number from Facebook

Facebook is now disclosing users' addresses and phone numbers to app developers, and though you have to OK access, it might still be a good idea to remove the info from your profile.

Update January 18, 2011 at 12:52 PST

As reported by Lance Whitney, Facebook has temporarily suspended providing cell numbers and addresses to application developers. Still, it's a good idea to at least consider not posting that information or limiting who can see it. This post shows how to delete the information. For details on how to control access, see my post at SafeKids.com.

Facebook will ask you each time you download an app whether to allow access to your contact information. Facebook screen shot

On Friday, Facebook made yet another change to its privacy policy, enabling third-party application developers to access your street address and cell phone number. This information was made public Friday night on the Facebook Developer Blog.

The good news is that this is an opt-in feature, but there's a catch. Each time you install a Facebook app you're asked whether to allow access to your "basic information" and your "current address and mobile phone number," and if you click Allow, the information can be provided. Many people routinely do click Allow without necessarily reading the request for permission or thinking about the implications. The safest way to make sure your address and phone number aren't passed on to developers is to not provide it all, and if it is there in your Facebook profile, to remove it. I especially recommend that parents talk with their teens about removing this information from their profiles.

Steps to remove contact information from your profile

1. Log into Facebook and click Home in the upper right corner.

2. Click Edit My Profile.

Facebook screen shot

3. Click on Contact Information at the bottom of the left column.

Facebook screen shot

4. Make sure that the Mobile Phone, Other Phone, and Address fields are blank.
Facebook screen shot

Free Facebook privacy booklet
For detailed tips on how to configure your or your child's Facebook privacy settings, please see ConnectSafely's A Parents Guide to Facebook, which I cowrote with Anne Collier.

Disclosure: Larry Magid is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a nonprofit Internet safety organization that receives financial support from Facebook and other technology companies.

About the author

Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He's been writing and speaking about Internet safety since he wrote Internet safety guide "Child Safety on the Information Highway" in 1994. He is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com, and a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Larry's technology analysis and commentary can be heard on CBS News and CBS affiliates, and read on CBSNews.com. He also writes a personal-tech column for the San Jose Mercury News. You can e-mail Larry.

 

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