A question for Facebook, with my answer

Note: If you have a question on how to set a custom username, see How To Create Custom Username (URL) For Facebook Fan Page.

From time to time a new application for Facebook claims to present its users the number of people who viewed the personal profile of the person using the application. So, it seems that the biggest question on Facebook is “Who viewed my profile?”

The bad news is that no such application, event, web site can present a good answer to the question, since Facebook’s privacy settings prevent a third party application to providing such an answer.

The good news is  you can use the data provided by Facebook itself to answer the dilemma.

So, how can I know which persons viewed my profile? It’s a slow process, and it goes like this. First of all, use a new Facebook profile (note: creating a new profiles for the same person interferes with Facebook’s terms; so find a solution on this), with no friends whatsoever. Then repeat these steps:

  • Go visit a friend’s (we’ll call that person X) Facebook profile; depending on the privacy settings of that person, you may see or not its list of friends;
    • You can’t see the list of friends? The process stops here;
    • On the other hand, if you can see the list of friends X has, Facebook does this trick: it tends to show you mostly the friends X has visited recently; so, if X used to visit your profile page four months ago, but now X is not really interested in your profile page, this data won’t matter; but if X has, in the recent time frame (days, weeks at most) visited your profile page, your profile page will show in the list;

Warnings:

  • The data is skewed if you visit X’s profile by using an account which has common friends with X (so if you visit X’s page using your own profile and you have common friends, data might be skewed);
  • Out of the 10 friends shown in the friends list, you will also see random users, not necessarily people whose profile X has seen;
  • The system is far from accurate, it’s more of a guesstimate; X is “mostly” interested on some people, this doesn’t say all that much;

I consider this issue as a Facebook privacy abuse, so I’ve hidden the list of friends on my profile altogether. I don’t have the wish to show others which profiles of my friends I do visit. On the other hand, I do share other stuff on Facebook.

I also consider the practice of visiting people’s profiles just to see who visits who’s profile intrusive, so I avoid this as much as possible. It’s like an open window – you can look from the street into the house, but it’s not very nice to do so.

You may also want to read:

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Bottom line: if you want to know which of your friends on Facebook visit your profile, you can create a new Facebook profile (see the rules first), visit their profile and (if they allow it) see top viewers of other’s profile.


Note: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar issues:IMRo. To join, email imro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and reply to the confirmation email.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

4 Comments

  • vlad

    20 June 2011 - 20:45

    buna,
    am o intrebare legata de legaturile catre social media de pe un website.
    lucrez la un site care are pe fiecare pagina iconite catre diverse platforme de social, problema e ca proprietarul siteului are 0 activitate pe retele sociale. si acum intrebarea: e ok sa las aceste linkuri avand in vedere ca nu exista activitate? s-ar putea sa avem niste vizitatori dezamagiti de faptul ca nu vor gasi ceva util.
    vreo parere?
    multumesc, Vlad

  • Olivian BREDA

    20 June 2011 - 21:21

    Bună Vlad,
    Dacă aveți de gând să reluați activitatea după un timp, da, are sens.

    Eu însă aș scoate acele linkuri, arată neprofesionalism.

    Sau aș face activitate pe rețelele sociale, e un task care poate lua 10 minute pe săptămână.
    Ți-am răspuns la întrebare?

  • vlad

    21 June 2011 - 00:25

    da, mi-ai raspuns. Mersi.

  • Olivian BREDA

    21 June 2011 - 09:07

    Cu multă plăcere.

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