How to Tell if Someone Has Watched Your Stuff on Facebook
By Aaron Charles
Whether you're concerned about cyber-stalkers or you just want to know what kind of people are taking a closer look at your Facebook content, there are ways to know who's seen your stuff on Facebook -- but not completely. Much depends on what "stuff" you want to monitor and whether you're thinking in terms of your Facebook profile or a Facebook page. And yes, there is a difference.
Oftentimes people will confuse a Facebook profile with a Facebook page -- two distinctly different platforms that vary in terms of what you can know about who's seen or done what. A Facebook profile is for personal use, and is what you create when you first join Facebook. Once you've created a Facebook profile, then you can choose to make a Facebook page, which is designed especially for businesses, brands, organizations and artists to advertise themselves.
For Facebook pages, Facebook provides a tool called "Page Insights" that will show you who's viewed posts you've made on your page, regardless of whether they "like" or click on them. This differs from Facebook personal profiles. Facebook doesn't allow you to know who has merely visited your profile and viewed its content, such as photos or videos, as of June 2013. Rather, another Facebook user must interact in some way, which could be by liking a post or commenting on it.
However, Facebook now offers "read receipts" for personal profiles that are a part of a Facebook group, or that use the Facebook Messenger desktop or mobile app. Whenever someone sends a message to you or multiple people within a group or over Messenger, an indicator at the bottom of the message shows the number of people who've read the message, even indicating each reader by name. But Facebook does warn that just because a message is marked as read by specific users, there's no guarantee that they have read the message carefully -- or even at all, for that matter.
Facebook's read receipts feature has inspired many people to complain about it since its release, partly because there's no way to disable it. Complaints also include the awkward faux pas that occurs when someone, unaware of the read receipts feature, goes on to tell the message sender that she's only just read a message -- belatedly -- while the read receipts indicator declares otherwise. Social embarrassment aside, others say that it's a violation of privacy and could exacerbate cases of stalking or cyber-bullying.
- Facebook: About Page Insights
- Facebook: Common Myths About Facebook
- Facebook: Group Basics
- Digital Trends: Read Receipts Are Letting Everyone Know I'm A Horrible Person
- Tech Glimpse: Stop Facebook Messenger on iOS From Sending ‘Seen’ Receipts
- Change.org: FaceBook, Inc.: Allow The Disabling Of "Read Receipts" For Messaging
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."