How to Determine the Number of Followers on Facebook
By David Nield
Facebook enables you to have both friends and followers on the network. Friendship is a two-way relationship -- you can see the updates of your friends, and they can see yours (depending on the privacy settings configured for each post). If you follow someone, this is a one-way relationship: You can see the user's public updates, but that individual doesn't see yours.
Finding Follower Numbers
Follow the link to your Timeline from the news feed (click your username or profile picture to find it) and the number of followers you have is displayed in the About box near the top of the page. Click on the "x people" link (where "x" is the number of people following you) to see who your followers are -- click through to each user's Timeline and you have the option to add the person as a friend or follow any public updates posted from the account. The same "Followed by" link appears in the About box of any other Facebook user who has activated the feature, so you can see how many followers other people have.
Finding Friend Numbers
Friends and followers are kept separate on Facebook Timelines. Open up any Facebook Timeline (yours or someone else's) and click the "Friends" link to see how many friends the individual has on the social network. If the user is following certain people on Facebook, you can see who these people are by opening the "Following" tab. If you cannot view the friends list of someone else on Facebook, the user has most likely set it as private.
You cannot follow anyone on Facebook unless that user has enabled the following feature. To enable it for your own account, click the white cog icon on the toolbar, choose "Account Settings" and then open up the "Followers" page. Tick the box at the top of the page to activate the option, which can then be configured as required using the settings underneath. Select the "Want to know what followers can see? View your public Timeline" link to see the public posts that are visible to your followers.
How Following Works
How following works depends on whether or not a particular user has enabled the feature -- if you cannot see a follower count on someone's Timeline, it's likely the feature is still disabled. If you send a friend request to another user who has switched on following, you automatically become a follower until the request is confirmed (and remain a follower even if it is denied). If you unfriend someone and you've enabled following, that person is automatically downgraded to a follower who is only able to view your public posts.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.