In light of the recent news about Facebook security hacks, there has been a lot of focus on how to ensure that your Facebook data isn’t compromised. Some of the most frequent questions I hear from people concerned about their Facebook security, include:
- How do I find out what my Facebook privacy settings are?
- How can I “lock down” my Facebook to make it more secure?
- Is Facebook really selling my data or is that just “fake news”?
- How do I know who is following me on Facebook and how can I restrict people from following me?
While there are plenty of articles and instruction guides on the first three, the last one is a question that I find is a nebulous. While it’s relatively easy to understand how to see who you follow on Facebook, it isn’t really that understand how to see who follows you on Facebook.
The last couple of times the question was asked, I responded with “why are you concerned about who follows you on Facebook?”
Then answers ranged from simple, like “I just want to know how to see who is following me on Facebook” to downright nefarious like “I saw an app that told me it could help secure my Facebook account by showing who is following me.”
That second answer really disturbed me.
With the exception of Facebook’s own security checkup, which can be accessed by clicking here (you must be logged in to Facebook before triggering it), you should NEVER trust any app that proclaims to show you your followers.
Let me repeat that.
You SHOULD NEVER trust any app that proclaims to show you your followers on Facebook.
Why? Because Facebook apps, by definition, require you to give them certain permissions in order to interact with your Facebook profile. In the case of these “follower apps”, they are asking you to give them permission to read and collect the information not only about your followers, but about your friends.
If you are asking yourself “how do I see my followers on Facebook” and you turn to an app to answer the question, that app is going to need your permission to access your account information and could, in turn, become a security risk. If you give it access, it’s going to be able to harvest Facebook data about you, your followers, and even your friends.
In fact, as recently as September 2017, a pretty sizable group of people fell for a hoax where they were typing “following me” into their Facebook search and were tricked into giving permissions to an app that then harvested their Facebook data. In reality, the app didn’t help anyone find out who was following them…it just appropriated their data.
So, how do you find out who is following you on Facebook? The only answer is to use the Facebook following list. To access that list:
- Login to Facebook
- Click your profile photo to access your public profile
- Click the “Friends” tab right under your cover photo
- On the friends page, click the “Followers” tab
By doing that, you will see a list of people who are following you. These are folks who generally want to see your updates, but may not want to be your Facebook friends. This is really the best way to to see who follows you on Facebook.
No fancy app needed. It’s a simple, core process that is built into Facebook.
What does it mean to follow someone on Facebook?
With all that said, it’s important that you understand what it means to follow someone on Facebook or to have someone follow you. Essentially, what it means is they want to hear what you have to say, but they don’t necessarily want to be friends.
Maybe they’re a high school classmate who you weren’t really close with. Maybe they’re a work colleague who wants to hear your general thoughts, but aren’t comfortable sending a friend request. Maybe you are a public speaker and someone who attended one of your talks wants to see what you have to say.
In any of these scenarios (and countless others), they have asked Facebook to include your public posts in their feed. The key, here, is it’s limited to your public posts. If you place a restriction on the visibility of a post, then they won’t see it. To understand how to limit the visibility of your Facebook posts, you can check out this article.
What does it mean to unfollow someone on Facebook?
Unfollowing someone on Facebook simply means they clicked the box to unfollow you and they no longer want to see your public posts in their Facebook feed. And before you go down the path of getting all worried about seeing who unfollowed you on Facebook, don’t.
People might unfollow you on Facebook for a myriad of reasons. Don’t take it personally and certainly don’t give any apps permission to dig into your data to try to see who unfollowed you.
So…why should you stop being concerned over who is following you?
The answer is because that question is focused on the wrong aspect of the problem. I applaud you for wanting to better understand how Facebook works and for learning how to see who follows you on Facebook. It’s always a good thing to learn more about the social network, especially since privacy concerns have been a pretty big problem in the past.
But rather than spending any time trying to figure out how to see your followers on Facebook, the better question to ask is “Who am I sharing things with?”. While you have little to no control over who follows you on Facebook, you have ABSOLUTE control over who you share posts with.
Rather than worrying about who might be creeping on your profile, take some time to go through the security checkup and lock down posts that you don’t want visible to the public.
I hope that helps some folks out there. Facebook definitely is at the center of some serious privacy concerns, but the more control you take over your privacy, the more you can minimize the risk associated with posting things on the social network.
Have a tip or trick for locking things down on Facebook? Be sure to share them in a comment.
Update – Is there a legitimate reason to understand who is following you on Facebook?
I love my readers.
You send me some great questions and things to think about. In this case, I was recently contacted via my contact form about a legitimate reason why someone might want to have a deep understanding of who is following them, especially in situations where harassment might be involved.
I completely agree that there definitely are times that you want to know who is seeing your posts. Just be sure that you don’t allow a third-party app to “help” you, especially when the simple instructions above show you how.
One last important note. If you missed the link in the text above, this article gives you step-by-step instructions on how to limit who gets to see your Facebook posts.
Let me know if there are questions by leaving them in a comment below or reaching out via my contact form.