Reader(s) Question: Who Has Viewed My Facebook Profile?

Last Updated: November 23, 2014

Back in March 2010, I wrote a post called Beware of “Who Viewed My Profile” Apps on Facebook. It’s still one of my top five viewed posts, with more than 4,400 page views in the past month alone. So it’s obviously a topic of great interest to people.

What’s odd is that even though the article clearly states that there are no applications available that let you see who viewed your profile, many of its readers still post comments asking who can view their profile. And rarely does a week go by that I don’t also receive that question on the T4L Facebook page and via email.

Maybe people think something has changed in the last three years. So let me be clear: There is NO way for you to find out who has viewed your profile on Facebook. Here is Facebook’s response to this question in their Help Center.

Can I know who’s looking at my timeline or how often it’s being viewed?

No, Facebook doesn’t let you track who views your timeline or your posts (ex: your photos). Third party apps also can’t provide this functionality.

If you come across an app that claims to offer this ability, please report the app.

Every once in a while I also get a comment from someone that they have proof that Facebook does provide this functionality because they looked at someone’s profile and then got a message or friend request from that person. I never see the specific evidence they’re referring to, so I can’t comment on what they think they’re seeing. I think it’s possible that if you look at someone’s profile a lot, your name will show up a lot more in places like the ticker or mutual friends’ lists, but that’s a far cry from showing someone exactly who has been looking at their profile, when and how often.

Now, I’m the first person to be cynical about any claim Facebook makes about caring about their users’ privacy (check out my recent series on Facebook and Privacy). But I really believe Facebook in this case and think they will never permit this functionality—because it wouldn’t be in their best interest to do so.

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I think there are lots of people who use Facebook primarily to look at profiles and pictures of other people, particularly those they’re interested in or have broken up with or who are currently seeing people they’ve broken up with. Now, if Facebook were to start allowing people to see who had checked out their profiles, a lot of people might very well delete their profiles and stop using FB altogether because they don’t want to be caught stalking. And since there seems to be some evidence that Facebook is already beginning to lose users, especially among the younger set, they’re not going to do something that will drive more people away when that feature has no particular value to the company itself.

So in addition to re-confirming that you cannot see who viewed your profile, please consider this post another warning never to click on any link that says it will help you do just that. If you do, you’re opening the door to having your account hacked and therefore facing actual threats to your privacy.

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Comments

  1. Ray says

    to follow-up my comment, maybe it could be their picture and name comes up because their responding to a comment I made and it’s showing me who they are.

  2. Ray says

    I don’t believe that facebook doesn’t show who’s been visiting your facebook page. I’ve had something like “do you know” these people, shows their name and pic if they have one, yet everything including my email is set for only me to see and no others. So if you make a comment on a page requiring facebook logon to post comment I believe from there they can link over to your facebook page and look around so why wouldn’t the same hold true for someone just doing a search for someone on facebook, finding them, frequently visit their page and somehow show up on their page as a “do you know” so to speak. I’m not sure what term they use but it was something like that.

    • Elizabeth Kricfalusi says

      Hi Ray.

      I agree that Facebook has this information and they may use it in different ways, including the “People You May Know” suggestions. However, I do not believe they provide it to third-party developers to create apps that tell you exactly who is visiting your page, when and how often, which is what they usually promise.

      – Elizabeth

  3. Carolyn says

    There was this guy I started talking to on an online dating site, I did a search on the internet and saw he had a facebook profile and I looked at it. When I met him in person, he told me that I came up in his people you may know section and even showed me on his phone. We live in the same city but have nothing else in common, no friends or anything so I have to assume you do show up in PYMK when you view someone’s profile. The weird thing though, is that he doesn’t show up in mine and I know he looked at my profile because he asked me about somethings he saw on it. The only thing I can think of that ties us together is I had him listed in my phone contact as we were communicating back and forth but that is still no reason for me to show up in his PYMK list. If anything, I would think he would show up in mine as well. I have also seen people show up in my PYMK list that are from another country and we have nothing in common, no friends, contacts, same industry or nothing what so ever as to why I might know the person so again, I have to assume they have looked at my profile.

    • Elizabeth Kricfalusi says

      Hi Carolyn.

      Yes, I believe Facebook probably uses information as part of their People You May Know algorithm, but what they’re not doing is letting third-party apps have that information to give you a full list of who has looked at your profile, when and how often. And that’s what they’re promising to get you to click so they can hack your account.

      – Elizabeth

  4. spacek says

    I am so glad I found this site. There were 3 separate instances where I where met up with people only to find them showing up on my People You May Know (PYMK) list the day after. I have even set up my settings to only permit people with mutual friends to be able to befriend me. So there is no reason for them to show up on my PYMK list, as none of my friends know any of them. I know this, because I only have 25 friends most of which are family and best friends, and I know who sees who in my life.

    Now I can only imagine me appearing on the PYMK lists of all my ex’s and colleagues and coworkers who I search for every once in a while out of boredom. And if this is the case, they will all think I am some creepy stalker constantly lurking their pages. WTF FB, please stop doing this or at least tell us what is going on. Ughhh FML.

  5. Lisa says

    You are absolutely correct. The goggle chrome thing is an illusion too. Why would a company with a market cap over 100 bil and 10k employees let an average joe with a few clicks be able to figure out facebooks most closely guarded secret? It can’t happen and it won’t happen. With that being said, Facebook probably knows more about you than you know about yourself.

  6. Partlys4int says

    But about facebook search: whenever I type a certain letter in the search bar the first person who shows up is someone I’m no longer friends with and whose profile I only sparsely check. The person right below her is someone whose name starts with the very same two letters (and mind: I only typed the first letter) and I interact with quite regularly.
    How does facebook’s algorithm determine it should show the defriended person first? Could it be that indeed the defriended person visits my profile quite often, or at least enough to outdo the interaction I have with the friended person?
    Even more peculiar: when I type the first letter of the defriended person’s last name, she shows up before my friends whose first names start with that same letter.

    • Elizabeth Kricfalusi says

      I’m afraid I can’t provide any insight into how Facebook’s algorithm works (I’m not sure Facebook can!) but I wouldn’t assume that means that person is viewing you more often than anyone else.

      – Elizabeth

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