Can You Read Facebook Without an Account?
By Sarah Morse
Facebook revolves around sharing personal information and ideas with friends. With this in mind, it may not come as a surprise to find out that if you do not have an account, you cannot see much of what happens on the social network. What you can see depends entirely on the privacy settings of individual users, as well as the location of the information you want to read on Facebook. Search for Facebook pages and profiles in a search engine; use a company or personal name and add the term "facebook" to the search.
As long as you have an account on Facebook you can see basic information on personal profiles, such as the profile owner's name, cover photo and profile picture, without connecting with that person. If you do not have an account, however, you may not even find this much information. This visibility depends on the privacy settings of individual users. If a user decides to allow search engines to see his profile, you will have access to at least this limited version of his profile. If the user decides to turn off this functionality, you will not be able to read the profile even if you have a direct link to it.
Profile Privacy Variations
Some profiles will display only the basic information, while others show more. Depending on what the owner of the profile decides share with the public, you may be able to see photos, events and read posts. Many users, however, limit this kind of information to "Friends," "Friends of Friends" or a custom list of users for privacy reasons. This excludes people without accounts, meaning that even if you can access a profile, you may not be able to read anything of consequence.
Published Facebook business, organization and celebrity pages are open to the public and, by default, anyone with or without an account on the social network can read them. These pages usually represent organizations, businesses and public figures rather than individuals and have a promotional or commercial bent to them. As someone without an account, you can read posts by page admins on pages as well as comments that individuals make on the page, but you cannot make posts yourself.
Groups are the most limited Facebook entities to those who do not have accounts. If you try to enter the URL of a Facebook group without logging in to the social network, Facebook will only bring you to a login screen. Groups have three privacy settings -- public, closed and secret -- but even those marked "Public" are not truly open to the public; only people with Facebook accounts can access group pages. If you want to read anything that goes on in a group, you must have an account.
Sarah Morse has been a writer since 2009, covering environmental topics, gardening and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, a master's degree in English and a master's degree in information science.