Who Viewed My Profile?

Original Photo: Ben Sweet, Manipulation: Emre Can Kuran

Nowadays, social media is used to keep in touch with other people we know. As a result of this, some people wonder that what’s happening under the hood. They have questions like “Who Viewed My Profile?”. Sometimes they get hacked, scammed or at least somebody lies to them. We will discuss in detail if there is such thing like learning the people who have viewed our profiles.

Origin

There is absolutely no origin of this question. But it comes from the curiosity of humans. When this idea is spread across the internet in recent years, a lot of applications are considered to help you learn the people who have viewed your profile. They probably are originated due to our wish to learn the secrets. Some social media websites allow us to achieve this while most of them do not have a feature like that. Applications devised for this purpose have drawn the attention of people.

Real or fake?

First of all, when you start to use a social media, some of your information you provided in the registration phase can be saved to database and some of them may not be saved. The database can keep all the information for a website, especially for a large social network. They are usually encrypted to prevent hackers from stealing this information as possible. So, when you know the situation, you may guess who can access the database: only the system administrators or the authorized persons on the related platform or nobody if it is not logged. This changes according to the policy that maintains how they keep your information. If someone is not permitted to have access to this database, he/she can not claim that he/she can provide you a service to see who has viewed your profile.

What can they do?

Assume that you have installed/permitted an application to provide you this service. What is next? What you can expect for? First, inspect which permissions it wants to grant or how it executes on your machine. If it can access and manipulate your sensitive data, like your identity information or your adress book, yet, it can send message, it can perform what you can’t even imagine. It can also make your friends to use the same application by sending them a short message. If you have permitted it for the actions, it can follow the people/like the posts you are not interested in. It can change the appearence of your profile, if you let it to do. If it is a virus, it can create copies of itself and also infect your friends’ computers/phones. It can steal your photos, your videos and your sounds. It can format your phone/computer.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as “Who Viewed My Profile” unless it is allowed by the service providers. If they claim that they are allowed, investigate it by communicating directly with the authorized people.

If it is true, how can they list the people who viewed my profile?

Of course, like in real life, there can be arguments that support a “lie”. They will try to make you believe in that my explanations are wrong and they tell the truth. In this case, they also find a way to exploit the people. They usually do some data mining or acquire statiscal information from your profile, your shared content and your likes, to estimate the people who can be the best fit for this role. So all this notifications turn out to be an illusion. So when you ask someone and if he/she has really viewed your profile, you fall into this trap.

In which ways they market this

Case 1 — Service: They integrate themselves using the API provided by the social media. They are usually made to make fun of you and may not be considered as harmful but be careful anyways.

Case 2 — Application: If you download it and it wants you to enter your username and password or any other sensitive private data, be prepared for everything. It can steal your username and password, login to your account without your consent or even it can get your account hacked. If you have taken good precautions for this case, it will be easy to recover but it may be hard to undo the actions it has done.

Case 3— Online: They send you a form and redirect you to website where you can manage all the things from a panel. The same rules in Case 2 apply there.

Archetypes

Case 1 — Prank: These softwares/services are just pranks and are not harmful.

Case 2— Virus: It can do a lot of harm both to your account, your computer and even to your friends in your list. It usually appears as an executable software/application.

Case 3 — Marketing: It seems like it helps you to see the people who viewed your profile but in the background, it performs other things such as liking the posts/following the people you are not interested in for some benefits.

Further

You can feel free to get in touch for questions.

My LinkedIn:

My E-mail:

emrecankuran21@gmail.com

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