Secret Social Media Profiles: Does Facebook Have Your Data?

Even if you haven’t created an account on a social media site, they may have a hidden profile with more details than you realize. Sneaky, right?

That’s why you should say no thanks when an app offers to include your contacts to find all your friends. It’s not giving away your information.

If you use social media, it pays to delete all the things (and people) you’ve looked up. Here are simple steps to save yourself a potential embarrassment later.

Maybe you deleted Facebook years ago or never created one. Meta may still have your mobile number, landline number, or email address.

The dark side of social media

Over the years, most of us have willingly shared too much. Hopefully you’ve removed your phone number and email address from your social media profiles.

Even if your account is private, anyone can take a screenshot. If you have contact information on your profile, delete it now.


These hidden accounts I mentioned are called shadow profiles. You exist thanks to all of your contacts who shared things like your full name, birthday, phone number, email address and maybe even more.

If someone you know shared their address book on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, Meta likely has your information. Good news: you can remove them.

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First go to this help page for non-meta users. Buried under the heading “How non-users can exercise their rights” is an important line:

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“Click here if you have a question about your rights.”

That links to a contact removal tool, which you can use to ask Meta to delete your information from its address book database. Yeah, they don’t make it super easy to find.

To delete your contact information from Meta:

Go to Select the type of information you want to remove. Select a mobile number, landline number, or email address, then click Next. Enter your phone number and/or email address to receive a verification code. Select the platform you want to remove it from (Facebook and Messenger or Instagram) or choose All. Click Next and enter the verification code on the next screen. Click Next one last time. If anything is found, click Confirm to clear the data. On the next screen, click Close or use the link to search for another number or email.


You can still use the removal tool if you have a Facebook account, but there are other steps you should take to protect your privacy.

Tap or click here for 10 Facebook privacy and security settings you need to change.

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