You can connect with any of users on Facebook and view their profile as long as the profiles are not private. Private accounts has their profile information hidden and only their friends can view their profile. Actually, this is a great privacy feature to prevent anyone from viewing your profile information if they are not on their friend list. But for parents who want to monitor the activity of their children, it is a bit of problem.
Moreover, a maximum number of kids has blocked their family members on Facebook, so it becomes more difficult to keep track of what they post or who they connect with. So, in this article, we will tell you how to view private Facebook profiles.
What Are Private Facebook Profiles?
Private Facebook profiles are accounts that you cannot view without being friends. When you view a private Facebook profile, you don’t see any user information and, in many cases, don’t see a profile photo either. The user has switched off any public-facing profile settings, making the profile not quite anonymous, but certainly more private.
In the early days of Facebook, several tricks existed that allowed at least a partial view of a private Facebook account. For instance, adding someone as a friend once granted access to that person’s Facebook page, regardless of privacy settings.
Another workaround involved modifying the Facebook profile URL to gain access to profile images and other uploads. At the time, third-party tools that could circumvent at least some of Facebook’s privacy settings were available too.
Thankfully, Facebook has closed the overwhelming majority of these backdoors and workarounds. The intense scrutiny Facebook faces regarding the privacy of its users means accessing a private Facebook profile is extremely difficult. In that, the largest vulnerability is now the human connection: social engineering, weak passwords, and poor personal security.
How to View Private Facebook Profiles without being Friends
Even if you set your Facebook profile to private, it doesn’t stop people from attempting to view it. Worse, setting your Facebook profile to private doesn’t close the loopholes people can use to skirt the privacy settings. They are, after all, loopholes. The clue is in the name.
There are a few methods people will use to engineer access to a private Facebook profile. Here’s what you need to watch out for.
1. Password Theft
The third method for accessing a private Facebook profile is straight-up password theft. Facebook password creation rules are decent enough. You need a minimum of eight characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Even with that combination, users will contrive to create the easiest password possible to remember. If you have an easy password, it is also easy for someone to guess it.
The other issue is password reuse. If you reuse a password across several sites and one of those suffers a data breach, you suddenly have several vulnerable accounts. You might not even realize your password is out in the wild, such is the volume of data breaches internet users contend with.
There is no tool to check your password on every site, for extremely obvious reasons. But you can head to Troy Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned? to find out if your email address and password has been exposed in a previous data breach.
2. Social Engineering
The other method for viewing private Facebook profile is to use Social Engineering. Actually, it exploits the human psychological weakness to get temporary access to a person’s Facebook profile. Since a private account cannot be viewed by anyone other than the person’s friends, and you aren’t sure that the person will add you to their friend list, so you can use Social Engineering technique to get temporary access to their account. For this, you need to send a message to the person (if the person knows you change your name) and if they reply to your text, then you will be able to view some of their information like DOB, friends, or other information.
3. Use “Spyware Apps” to View Private Facebook Profiles
Once Facebook finally made it genuinely difficult to view a private Facebook profile, those desperate to view a profile turned to more extreme options. Installing spyware is one of those more extreme methods of viewing a private Facebook profile.
Spyware, and more recently, stalkerware (what is stalkerware?) installed on the device of a victim can provide direct access to a private Facebook account.
Spyware apps are not difficult to use. You can take some assurance in the fact that it won’t work unless someone has access to your computer or smartphone, or tricks you into downloading the spyware using a malicious email or link.
If someone is using a spyware app to view or mirror a Facebook account to a different device, it is difficult to detect. Especially if the person spying isn’t making any modifications or changing the behavior of the device. Thankfully, you do have options!
By checking our previous articles about malware removal you will find out if your device is hiding any spyware or malware, and explain how to remove it.
4. Fake Facebook Friends
The most straightforward method is via a fake friend. Someone that desperately wants access to your private Facebook profile might create an entirely fake profile in order to befriend you and gain access to your Facebook profile.
A fake friend profile will use commonly known details to trick you into accepting a request. For instance, the (stolen) profile might feature a person of a similar age, have a similar set of interests and Likes, or say they come from the same hometown, school, or business; anything to create a false bond.
If someone is specifically targeting your account, they can use the information found on other accounts linked to yours to create the illusion of a colleague in a different department or a long-lost primary school friend.
The difficulty of spotting a fake Facebook friend depends on how you use your account. If you are already a very private individual with a small number of Facebook friends, it is easier to spot a fake request.
You can take control of your Facebook friend settings, including hiding your friends list and restricting who can make a friend request.
Closing It Out
A private Facebook profile should protect your data. But you shouldn’t entirely rely on Facebook. The social media giant is as much of a privacy issue as people attempting to view your private profile.
Facebook already holds the data as you enter it, upload photos, and Share and Like pages. Facebook’s tracking is prolific, and Facebook has been involved in numerous privacy scandals. Which isn’t a good combination.
Generally speaking, Facebook is a security and privacy nightmare. So, yes, protect your Facebook account against people preying on your data. But consider protecting yourself against the platform itself too.