I have set OWD for both Account and Contact to Private. I created an Account and shared it with all users. I created a Contact for that Account, but I didn't share it with any users.

I log in as a different user and I have access to the Contact. The reason: "Account Sharing". How can this be?

I checked and double checked, but the OWD for both objects are Private, not Controlled by Parent.

Role hierarchy cannot be the cause: the Contact was created at the highest level and I log in as a user that is low in the hierarchy. Besides, the reason would have been role hierarchy, not Account Sharing.

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  • After more Googling, I am beginning to suspect that this is one of those "works as designed" bugs. See for example here success.salesforce.com/ideaview?id=08730000000BrSoAAK for something similar relating to activities. I guess "Private" Contacts cannot be private as long as they belong to an Account. I may have to consider Person Accounts. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 8:43
  • Can you check that 'view all data' is unchecked in your profile/permission set assignments? Otherwise I would have expected the visibility to work as you thought it should... Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 8:44
  • View all data is unchecked: I tested this 'feature' while logging in as a user with the 'Standard User' profile. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Contact to Account is special type of look up. If you have permission to share an account, Salesforce automatically provides “Read” access to the associated account when granting sharing access to a contact if the recipient does not already have it.

Source: https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=contacts_sharing.htm&language=en_US

  • I guess this is the key part: "access to a parent account always gives you access to the associated child records". Well this sucks! What purpose does "Private" access to Contacts serve? Does it do anything? Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 8:57
  • And another feature: if you create a Contact without an Account, then it is a really private Contact. It is not possible to do any sharing for that Contact. So it's all or nothing. Do I sound frustrated? It's because I am. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 9:14
  • Right. So Private contact is truly private but the automatic sharing on account opens access to contact.. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 9:33

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