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.