How To View a Private Facebook Profile
In a world where data privacy is becoming increasingly rare, Facebook’s private account setting is a godsend. You’re able to keep your posts and most of your personal details away from users you don’t want to share them with.
However, it’s a different feeling when you’re on the other side of the fence and can’t see someone’s profile. Encountering a private account can be quite frustrating because you can’t view their interactions with other users, nor their reactions to comments or posts. All you might be able to see is their profile picture and perhaps their username.
Facebook doesn’t offer you a direct way out of the situation, even if you’re running a business page.
Luckily, with a few proven workarounds, you can view any private Facebook account. In this article, we’ll show you how to go about it.
Is There Any Way to View Private Facebook Profiles?
It’s not too hard to imagine a situation where you’d want unrestricted access to someone’s Facebook profile. It could be an elite professional you’re keen to learn from and emulate. Or maybe it’s someone you recently met but want to dig up a few details about before engaging them further. It could even be one of your business competitors, and you’re keen to discover what they’ve been up to lately.
So, is it possible to view a private Facebook account? The answer is yes. Several tools and tricks can help you view a private Facebook profile. Let’s see how each works.
1. Take the High Road
By default, a private Facebook account can only be viewed by users who are friends with the account owner. Therefore, sending the owner a friend request is one of the easiest ways to get around this restriction. Once your request has been accepted, you’ll be able to view their personal data, status updates, Stories, and just about anything else they decide to share with friends. You can even dig into their archives and view older posts on their timeline.
The problem with this approach is that you don’t know how long the account owner will take to approve your friend request. It could take days, months, or weeks. There’s also a chance you’ll never get a response because Facebook allows users to ignore friend requests.
2. Try Social Engineering
One of the best things about Facebook’s account privacy settings is that they can be tightened or relaxed as the account owner wishes. When activating private mode, some people restrict the ability to view their profile from people they aren’t friends with but do allow access by “friends of friends.” That means you might be able to view your target’s profile if the two of you have at least one mutual friend.
So, to make this work, you need to send at least one friend request to one of the target’s friends.
The only downside to this approach is that the target’s friends list may also be restricted, making it difficult to find mutual friends. If that’s the case, you may try sending friend requests to people that are friends with the target outside of Facebook. Most people tend to use Facebook to connect with their real-life friends before expanding the circle to include celebrities and people they haven’t met yet.
3. Deploy the Trojan Horse
Sometimes sending someone a friend request to unlock their profile may not work, especially if you want to be covert and don’t want to reveal your true identity to the target. That’s where the Trojan horse comes in. But how does it work?
All you need to do is create a “fake” Facebook account and then send the target a friend request.
This approach is fraught with risk. If the target has any doubts about your identity, they may decide to block you, a move that could make even the restricted view of their profile “disappear” for good. You could also be reported to Facebook for violating the platform’s user guidelines.
So, if you want this trick to work, you need to be creative and eliminate anything that smacks of deceit or identity theft. The best way to do this is to take steps to impress the target and influence their decision.
For example, let’s say they are an elite gamer, and you want to be privy to the tips and tricks they share with their Facebook friends. You could populate your timeline with posts that paint you as a top-notch gamer, complete with screenshots from some of the most popular video games. You could also make posts about key issues in the gaming industry, such as impending releases, upcoming gaming platforms, or even contentious legal issues related to the industry.
In earlier times, Facebook’s account privacy tools were more forgiving. For example, it was possible to manipulate a user’s Facebook URL and instantly access selected personal information, including photos and videos. These days, the platform seems to have swung into action to block this.
Facebook has been continually tightening loose ends to make it more difficult to access private profiles and data. However, a few loopholes still work. One of them is tagged photos.
If two or more people take a photo and share it with friends on Facebook, they can tag each other to help other users identify everyone in the photo by name. If your target has been tagged in any photo, you can easily find them using Facebook’s search button. To do so:
- Sign in to your account.
- Click on “Search.”
- Enter the following into the text field:
Photos of <Name>
- For example, if your target is James Clark, you’ll type the following:
Photos of James Clark
- For example, if your target is James Clark, you’ll type the following:
Once you do this, Facebook will run an extensive search and display all the photos the person has been tagged in.
4. Try Third-Party Viewer Apps
If social engineering and the use of “fake” Facebook accounts sound like a lot of work, you could go for a dedicated third-party tool that will do all the work for you. One of the most popular tools is PictureMate. But how does it work?
PictureMate is a Chrome extension that lets you find pictures of anyone on Facebook. It’s a great tool when you want to view pictures of someone privately. At the click of a button, you can find the pictures of any user, even if they have been uploaded by someone else. Although you might not get all the information you’re looking for, PictureMate presents a hassle-free tool that’s not only free but also relatively safe for use.
Here’s how to use PictureMate:
- Visit the PictureMate official website.
- Download and add the extension to your Chrome browser.
- Once the extension has been installed, restart your browser. This will activate PictureMate, and it should now appear in the top right corner of your browser.
- To use the extension, click on it and enter the name of the person whose photos you’d like to view.
Many other third-party tools claim to unlock any private account, but some don’t work as promised. Others can expose you to fraud or theft of personal data. It’s therefore important to exercise due diligence before using them. For example, you can look up any reviews a tool has on credible product review platforms. This can help you establish whether it’s legitimate, safe, and effective.
5. Pay a Broker
If none of the methods we’ve discussed work for you, you could hire a data broker to do the job. Although most data brokers make money by bulk-collecting user information and then selling it, some can help you access the specific profile of anyone you want, but you need to pay for the service as well. And, still, you might only gain access to selected files such as photos and videos.
This approach is recommended only if it’s legal in your state or current country of residence. It’s also important to note that if you’re embroiled in a legal matter and are looking for evidence, any information gained this way may not be admissible in court.
6. Try Google
Sending someone a friend request to unlock their profile and view their posts, photos, videos, and status updates can leave you in the dark. You can’t tell when the target will respond. They might even snub the request. Google indexing can offer you a way out.
Indexing is the process of analyzing content on a website in order to include it in search algorithms. Google crawls Facebook to find any information a Facebook user might have shared with the audience set to “public.”
This method works because some people don’t set their Facebook audience to “private” immediately after opening the account. Some only tweak their privacy settings after gaining a sizeable following or after making a few thousand friends.
To search any content a Facebook user may have shared with their audience set to “public,” simply enter their name in the search box and include “Facebook” in your query to narrow down the results. Google will then crawl all Facebook archives and display any information it can find.
Keep It Safe
There are many ways to view a private Facebook account. However, you need to select a tool that’s not only effective but also doesn’t compromise the safety and security of your own data.
Are there some private Facebook accounts you’ve managed to unlock? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments section below.