Facebook Social Media

Can Facebook friends see I’ve searched their photos or profile?

Facebook friends see when I’ve searched their photos
Snooper's paradise? Facebook rarely reveals who's been looking at your stuff

A question arrives from a reader, who we’re not going to identify for soon to be obvious reasons. “When I search a keyword in my friend’s posts, does he see that I searched on his profile?”

The fear that Facebook friends can tell whenever you’ve flicked through their holiday photos or dug around their profile posts isn’t entirely unfounded. There are, after all, plenty of Facebook ads for apps that claim to tell you who’s been “stalking your profile”. Can people really tell when you’ve been poking around their profile?

The short answer is no, with a couple of notable caveats.

Firstly, Facebook doesn’t log which photo albums you’ve viewed or whose profile you’ve been browsing through – at least, not publicly. There’s no way of clicking on your own holiday snaps and seeing which of your friends has been ogling shots of you in your bikini. (Which reminds me, I really must get that bikini wax sorted before the summer…)

If you are nosily poking through an ex’s photos or checking that your girlfriend isn’t getting too many likes from that fella who’s been chatting her up down the pub, you do need to exercise care when you’re prodding around their profiles.

It’s stupidly easy to accidentally ‘like’ a photo when you’re swiping through a photo album, for example, especially on a mobile. While it is possible to remove the like by simply bashing the like button again, the owner may still receive a notification that you liked their photo in the first place.

Facebook Story: the exception

There is an exception to this. If someone has posted a photo or video as a Facebook Story, they will be able to see precisely which of their friends viewed the Story. Given that you can’t tell the content of a Story until you’ve clicked on it, however, nobody could rightly accuse you of being a voyeur if it turns out to be them in their swimsuit, for example.

When someone views your Facebook Story, a little eye icon will appear in the bottom left of the screen. Click on that, and it reveals exactly who’s been viewing the content, as you can see from the screenshot below.

Facebook Story

So what about those ‘stalker’ apps that claim to identify who’s been poring over your holiday snaps?

They’re all fake, absolute hokum, and should never be allowed to appear on Facebook in the first place. These so-called apps want you to ‘like’ them so that when they bait and switch to advertising another dodgy product in a couple of weeks’ time, they have a large audience. Don’t click on them. Nor your boss’s Crete beach shots.

Now click here: loads more tips on using Facebook

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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