How To View Your Facebook Profile As Someone Else (Or As The Public Does)

September 5, 2013 · 39 comments

in Facebook

How To View Your Facebook Profile As Someone Else (Or As The Public Does)

facebook logoSee What Other People 
See On Your Facebook Timeline 

While you can NOT determine WHO has viewed your profile on Facebook recently (unlike on LinkedIn)…

You CAN easily find out what another Facebook user would see if they DID visit your profile.

And this simple little step has important implications both for security and marketing.  

Why Check Out Your Profile As Someone Else Might?

1. Security -  Make sure your friends are seeing the right stuff, your friends of friends are only seeing the allowed stuff, and the public is not seeing too much. This is also a way to ensure that someone you have blocked or “suppressed” using the granular privacy settings is not seeing more than they should. 

2. Marketing - Those of us in marketing are “within the public sphere” and it means that we need to additionally be aware of how the “public at large” (other Facebook users who are not yet our friends) sees us. Often, a little “sculpting” or “manicuring” is called for. 

Viewing Your Timeline (Profile) As Someone Else

There are 2 different ways to get to the “View As…” tool on Facebook:

1.  (as an alternate to #2) Click on your name in the upper left hand corner of Facebook to go to your Facebook Timeline (aka Facebook Profile).  Near the lower right hand corner of your cover image, you will see a gear (settings) icon. In this dropdown menu, select “View As…” 

facebook-profile-view-as-1

2.  (as an alternate to #1) In the upper right hand corner of your Facebook, you will see a little padlock icon just to the right of your name. Open up this dropdown. Then select (click) “Who can see my stuff“, and then click “What do other people see on my timeline? View As…

facebook-profile-view-as-23. The “View As…” bar now shows up near the top of your Facebook profile and indicates which privacy group (Public… Friends of friends… Friends… etc) or individual you are currently viewing Facebook as. You can easily close it, when you are done, by clicking the X. 

facebook-profile-view-as-3

A popup reminds you to: “Remember: Things you hide from your timeline still appear in news feed, search, and other places on Facebook.” (If you want something to not be visible 

What Items To Check When Viewing Your Facebook Profile As Someone Else

1. Check Your Timeline Itself. Look at individual postings 

2. On the left sidebar of your timeline, look at different items such as “likes” and “places” and “tv shows”, etc. 

3. Click on the About tab and look at your “city”, “home town”, “places” “photos”, “email address”, “phone number”, etc. 

4. You can also check out the “Friends” and “more” tab but most of these items are accounted for in the left sidebar of the timeline at this time. 

Who To Investigate How They See Your Stuff?

Start by viewing your profile as Public:  Pay careful attention to this filter because this defines how Facebook subscribers and non-friends see your profile. This is where you want to be sure they are seeing the “right” things without seeing too much. If you have Subscriptions enabled and/or post publicly, this will have more “stuff” than if you do not.

However, if you are a marketer, be sure that this limited view still conveys your brand and how to reach you, etc.   When you post to public, it means everyone, and you can not suppress the post from being seen by any trouble maker. 

Consider friends of friends: These people are important because you can not directly control who they are… yet they are not exactly the public at large.  Friends of Friends is the first level where you can use Custom Privacy to keep a person (or group of people – a list) from seeing an item. Unfortunately, the “View As” tool can not show you this view. However, keep it in mind. 

facebook-profile-custom-privacy

Check an Individual to check the “Friends” filter: Regardless of whether or not you use this often (or rarely) you still want to take a look and make sure it’s contained. It only takes a couple moments to be sure .  If you post regularly to the Friends filter, pay attention that the right posts are there… and that none of them are “bleeding over” into the Public or friends of friends without your knowledge.  Select the name of a friend – preferably one that is NOT in a list that you publish specialized content to – to have a look at what they see. 

Check an Individual to check on a Custom List: If, like me, you maintain custom Facebook lists, for selective posting…. you will need to view your profile as a member of that list would see it. (Keep in mind that that individual may be a member of multiple lists of yours so do not immediately freak out if they seem to see more than you think they should.)  I have one very-important custom list, that I share very personal things with, where I do NOT want that content being seen by all of my friends in general. 

Check an Individual to check on the “Restricted” List: If you utilize the restricted list on Facebook, to prevent a friend from seeing any non-public postings… then you will want to view one of those “friends” and be sure that they are only seeing public content rather than seeing content labeled for friends. 

Check on any person you regularly do not share content with: The custom privacy box above lets us suppress content being shown to any friend even if they are not on the restricted list. If you take advantage of this (as many people do with an ex relationship partner) be sure to check it.  

Know Your Settings! 

Many people are familiar with the privacy options but don’t take great advantage of them. This is your chance to clean up, shift around, and make better use of them going forward.

Pay careful attention to that “Public” filter so that it gives off not only the right information but also the right AMOUNT of information.  (You don’t want to have it only showing certain app postings and never showing that you post legitimate quality content.)

Cleaning this up is something you can do as little as once a year and feel great about because you know it lets the right “you” shine through!

Have you checked your privacy settings recently?

~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing

PS: Many apps give themselves permission to post at one privacy level and you might want to change that…. you need to go into App settings, into the individual app to change how it posts by default. 

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarupa Shah September 6, 2013 at 5:53 am

Great tips Kim – there always seems to be so much to be mindful of…and so easy to forget!
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Rebekah Radice September 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

Excellent tutorial as always Kim! I frequently check my profile across all of my social channels. As you said, we’re in marketing and knowing what others are seeing or stumbling upon is extremely important.
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Holly September 6, 2013 at 10:59 am

I must say this is a great lesson full of info for me.. I could use a lot of this info, just because i don’t really know much about it!! Off to implement!!
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Drew Tracy September 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Im a freak when it comes to optimizing and seeing how everything looks this is a huge help! Thanks for the post.

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Julieanne van Zyl September 7, 2013 at 12:33 am

Well, mine looks fine, thanks for the update Kim. I updated some of the movies and music I like:-)
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Mike September 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

Great post! I never could figure out how to do this. Bookmarked.

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Jupiter Jim September 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Kimberly,

I have Always wanted to know how to do this! Thanks for telling us not only How to do it, but also What to look for when we do it!!!!

Very helpful and detailed post and instructions! Thanks so much!

~ Jupiter Jim
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Shelley Alexander September 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Kim, I have never thought about checking this on a yearly basis but now that you explained how to see what others on seeing on my Facebook profile, I will have to check it out. Thanks for all the great tips!
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Marty Diamond September 8, 2013 at 2:15 am

As soon as I saw the title of this post – I knew it was a must read. I’ve never checked how my FB profile looked or who was able to see what in my feed – Thanks for the heads up – I checked it out and it wasn’t the disaster I anticipated.
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Willena Flewelling September 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

Great info, Kim. I’ve used this option before (via the gear icon) for security reasons… needing to know just how much others can see. I don’t have my privacy options sewed up very tightly, because I want people to find me. But I need to know just what they can see when they come to my profile.
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Cherrie Bautista September 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Yes, I do check my privacy settings regularly. The view as feature is very helpful. I often try to see what is visible by non-friends and public to make sure there’s nothing in there that I don’t want to share with the public. I haven’t done viewing the “restricted” list version, and you made a good point of seeing that once in a while just to make sure.
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sameer September 9, 2013 at 12:21 am

Though Facebook is today’s need,if you not to do good deal with your privacy setting and your sharing on fb then get ready for paying! thank you for sharing!

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Ryan Biddulph September 10, 2013 at 12:50 am

Neat Kim and quite easy to do. A few seconds and you can see how the public views your profile. Thanks!

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Chitra September 10, 2013 at 5:55 am

Its is a great post about how to view your facebook profile as someone else.

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Kathryn Dilligard September 10, 2013 at 8:58 am

That’s why Facebook is good for stalking, yes? lol

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William Amis September 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Kim, well done and one action that I have taken advantage upon creating not my personal page yet my business page when we use to call them Fan Pages.

I am going over later this week to review my prior established settings. You made a valid point as to view as someone else and that is not something I even gave thought of on my personal account.

You have great insight when we have to gather our thoughts on tech issues and that I love about all the many talents you possess.

Thank you once again mover and shaker Kim You are my one target support person(Gal) when it comes to my tech issues that may lack my experience or practice for sometime now. I do appreciate all the love and passion you have for this area. I just never know how you find the time?
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Chery Schmidt September 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Hi Kim! I had no idea how others saw my profile before This was a real eye opener for me. I just love how you show us how to go about doing things! You Are Awesome Girl!! Thanks for all you do.
Chery :)
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Jeevan Jacob John September 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

Great tutorial, Kim :)

I cleaned up by FB sometime ago (I also removed a lot of information from my own profile). Haven’t tested this little tool yet, but I am sure that it will help. Thanks!

I do have a question: I recently started another page, is there a way I can like the pages (which I have liked through my profile) as my fan page without having to manually open every one of my likes?

Thank you,

Jeevan Jacob John

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Donna Merrill September 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Kim!
Very helpful indeed. I followed those step by step instructions and it was easy to do. Plus, I wanted to check and see how others see my posts.
More importantly, this is great for security reasons.

Thanks!
Donna
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Leslie Denning September 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Hi Kim. Great post. I was doodling around in FB last week and saw that particular function, which I didn’t know about. I’m concentrating on Facebook now until I know it very well, so this post was very helpful to me in terms of my current quest. Thanks so much.

All the best,
Leslie
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Susan Velez September 13, 2013 at 7:19 am

Hi Kim,

These tips will definitely come in handy for someone who does not know that much about Facebook. Great tutorials that will walk someone step by step to ensure that they have their security set up properly.

Thanks for sharing, have a great weekend.

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Kim Castleberry October 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Thank you for your kind words Susan, appreciate you dropping in :)
Kim

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nick catricala September 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Kim, as always,
so nice to come to your blog and learn, learn and learn more and more… I heard about all this FB privacy commotion so many times and I just could not get it. And I did not do anything.. now with your detailed instructions I finally can go to check them out and see how I am doing haha :-)

Thanks so much over and over again.
_nickc

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Lesly Federici September 15, 2013 at 8:26 am

Hey Kim,
Ooo I have not done this, but I think you’re right about checking the settings and being sure I’m showing the information I want to show… As always, thanks for an informative post

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Jose Palomino September 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Nice post Kim, very informative. I am very happy when i find interesting info that help me to improve. Thanks.

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Nile September 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I think a lot of people should be aware of this as they forget who can see what. For the person with a job that may be nosy and poking around in their employees FB profiles, using the privacy is important.
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Ade September 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Thanks for another handy tip Kim! I did not know this before reading your post although I had always wondered what my profile looked like to others!
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Harman September 16, 2013 at 10:25 am

Finally i came to know how to view Facebook profile like how someone views it. Thanks man :P

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yusri September 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thanks for this post and remind me about View As… I never use this option before for security reasons. Why facebook has limit to add friends till 5000 only?

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Kim Castleberry October 4, 2013 at 3:48 am

The limit is to stop mass adding of people you don’t know in the offline world and stop the adding of too many pages liked. The news feed algorithm is only optimized for 250 connections and even 5000 makes it kinda wonky.
Kim

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Selena September 17, 2013 at 2:28 am

Hey Kim,
It was interesting reading this post about facebook profile view. I tried it just now and it’s working. thanks.

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Christina Maria September 17, 2013 at 5:39 am

Hi Kim,
You are great & genius in Facebook as much, I read your articles so those are really great & helpful for Facebook & now on this article too… This is also great article Facebook Profile to see anyone… Great Kim :)

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Rick Lelchuk September 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Wow, Kimberly,
Another blockbuster post. Facebook has certain become a complex place. I tend to watch what I post figuring everyone can see. If I have something private I keep it one-on-one. But, now I know how to alter that should I need to. Many thanks,

RICK

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Mark Ford September 21, 2013 at 8:45 am

I check my Facebook seytings quite regularly.

Facebook changes their terms all the time and so settings you put in place could be rendered useless and you may end up displaying information to the general public you dont want to.

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Rachel Lavern September 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I view my Facebook profile as public every time I make a change…just to be sure. I also will periodically view it as a person representative of a certain level when I make changes make sure verify that I am not unknowingly hiding or permitting aspects of my profile to certain levels.

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Jafar Dhada September 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I was totally unaware of this feature. Its must to check your profile as someone else so we could find what others can see about us and hide or view more accordingly!

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Chris September 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

Hi Kim,

Thanks for this!

“Consider friends of friends: These people are important because you can not directly control who they are… yet they are not exactly the public at large.”

You’re exactly right to call attention to this. We’ve found that a number of people who have reacted to our content turned out to be friends of friends. That’s a really big and a really important group. And you’re only one step away from reaching them with your marketing!
Best, Chris

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Kim Castleberry October 3, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Exactly Chris! The “friends of friends” concept gives us a lot more reach if we take advantage of it. The “public” filter also reaches friends of friends so that’s useful to know as well. Being able to get into that ticker of friends of your current friends, when current friends engage with your content, is REALLY useful!
Kim

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Jessica van Zyl September 24, 2013 at 12:22 am

Hi Kim,

That is a great idea, I often ask someone else to have a look at a site from their point of view as you never know if they can see what you can see…. until now!!

Thank you,
Kind Regards, Jessica.

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