Apparently you can look up anyone on Facebook using his or her phone number and it's a desirable feature, Facebook said today.
"By default, your privacy settings allow everyone to find you with search and friend finder using the contact info you have provided, such as your email address and phone number," Facebook said in an emailed statement to the Los Angeles Times.
A researcher, Suriya Prakash, found the feature a month ago and compiled 846 phone numbers by using a simple script to find and store user phone numbers. Facebook argued that it would stop such a script because it restricts how many times a person can search for phone numbers.
The Times states that Facebook would be at the "mercy of marketers, pollsters, basically anyone, looking to match phone numbers with information from Facebook profiles" if it didn't have restrictions in place. Prakash, however, says the social network really doesn't -- at least not on the mobile platform he used.
Regardless of how you feel about Facebook security, there is one surefire way to protect your phone number: don't add it to your Facebook profile. Barring that, users must go to settings and click on the buttons to mobile phones or others phones and make sure they are set to either "friends" or "only me." If it's set to "everyone," then you may receive some interesting or annoying calls.
After the first step, proceed to privacy settings and select "how you connect" and when asked who look you up with email address or phone number, pick "friends" or "friends of friends."
Published at 11:12 AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012