How Facebook secretly collects your information even if you haven't signed up

You may have managed to go all this time without ever making any kind of social media account. However, Facebook could potentially still have your information even if you’ve never set up an account. Find out why this is possible and how you can protect your information. 

How could Facebook have access to my private information? 

Whether you deleted your Facebook account years ago or you never made an account at all, it’s possible that Facebook could still have your email address cell phone number or landline number. The reason for this is because of hidden accounts called Shadow Profiles. These profiles are created based on data gathered from various sources, such as contacts uploaded by Facebook users, websites with Facebook tracking pixels, and other third-party data providers. 

So, even if people you’re friends with shared their own contact information on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, and you were in their address book, Meta, the parent company of these apps, likely has your information.   

Facebook’s algorithms use this information to create a profile for non-users, which may include details like the person’s name, email address, phone number and other personal data. These profiles are created without the knowledge or consent of the individuals involved.  We reached out to Facebook’s parent company Meta for additional information and to offer the social media platform an opportunity to comment on this report and have not heard back from them at the time of publishing. 

Woman on a computer

Here’s what to know about how Facebook collects your personal information. (


How does Facebook use the data it receives?

Facebook’s privacy policy explains in great detail what they do with the information they receive. According to its website, there are three main ways in which they use the information they get from other websites and apps: 

  • Providing our services to these sites or apps
  • Improving safety and security on Facebook
  • Enhancing our own products and services.

The company emphasizes that they don’t sell people’s data. Even so, shadow profiles have been a subject of controversy and criticism due to privacy concerns. Critics argue that the creation of shadow profiles raises ethical questions regarding user consent and control over personal information. However, it is possible to have yourself removed from its databases. 


How do I remove my information?

If you’re not currently or have never been a Facebook user, here’s what you can do.  

  • Go to the Meta Help Page where there is information for people who do not use Meta products
  • Go to the heading that says How Non-Users can exercise their rights
  • There will be a link that says Click Here, which will take you to a webpage where you can ask Meta to remove your contact information.

Select the type of information you want to remove. Choose from a mobile number, landline, or email address, then hit Next

  • Enter your phone number and/or email address to get a confirmation code
  • Select the platform you want it removed from (Facebook and Messenger or Instagram), or select All
  • Click Next and enter the confirmation code on the next screen. Hit Next one last time
  • If something is found, hit Confirm to delete the data
  • Hit Close on the next screen, or use the link to search for another number or email.


If you’re a Facebook user, here’s how to adjust your contact settings. 

  • Log in to your Facebook account
  • Click your Profile picture
  • Click Settings & privacy
  • Click Settings
  • In the sidebar on the left, click Privacy
  • Under How people can find and contact you, reset all those settings to say “Only Me” so that no one in the public can look at your information.

How do I stop uploading my contacts to Facebook? 

  • Log in to your Facebook account
  • Click your Profile picture
  • Click Settings & privacy
  • Click Settings
  • Click Upload Contacts
  • Toggle Upload Contacts off.

Once you have turned off this setting, Facebook will no longer upload your contacts to the app. Keep in mind that if you previously allowed Facebook to upload your contacts, you may need to delete your previously uploaded contacts manually. 

Kurt’s key takeaways 


Knowing how Facebook collects and utilizes personal information is important, even if you have never used the platform. Be aware that they can create hidden accounts called Shadow Profiles, which are generated using data from various sources. While Facebook claims this data is used to improve and protect user experience, creating shadow profiles raises concerns about privacy and consent. By following the steps I’m providing, you can take control of your information and minimize your exposure to potential privacy risks. 

Should Facebook be allowed to collect your personal data without asking you directly? Let us know by writing us at 

For more of my tips, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to 

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