Facebook Now Reveals Names of People Who View Photos Posted to Groups

Facebook has rolled out a new feature that may make privacy-wary Internet users cringe. It’s a link called “seen by” that shows up under photos posted to groups. The link reveals a box that shows exactly who has seen the photographs — timestamps and all.

Ingrid Lunden of Techcrunch writes that UC Santa Barbara professor Ben Zhao first noticed the feature last Friday after sharing a photograph of his daughter to one of his groups.

Lunden decided to join the group herself, and discovered that she could see the entire “seen by” list under the photo as well. Apparently the info isn’t meant just for the photo sharers, but for the entire group images are shared with.

While the feature is relatively harmless when applied to groups, imagine what Facebook would be like if it one day rolled out to every photograph shared through the service. Having the veil of anonymity lifted would completely change the way people stalk each other browse photographs.

Some users would be creeped out (or flattered) by the number of people viewing their images, while others would be dismayed to find their albums to be the Facebook equivalent of ghost towns.

Photographers who suspect plagiarism by another shooter would be able to prove their case by looking through the “view logs” for the name.

Don’t worry too much though: Facebook is the web’s largest photo sharing service (by far), and, given the personal nature of photo sharing, the decision makers at the company would have to be completely devoted to the art of “fail” in order to introduce such a privacy-intruding feature.

Image credit: Screenshot by Ben Zhao

  • Sdravus

    I guess that its someone of G+ working on FB…

  • Jake

    Yet another way for Facebook to contribute to worldwide emotional insecurity

  • Jo

    This feature ist not just at photos visble, posts in grous have this funktion to.

  • wickerprints

    Is there anyone who is still surprised at the way Facebook operates? Not only is their entire business model is built on violating their users’ privacy, they either do it without telling anyone about it or they announce they’re implementing a change but don’t give their users a way to opt out. It’s amazing to me that anyone would continue to want to be exploited by such a company, and the only reason people do keep using it is because they’ve been so thoroughly fooled into thinking it’s a necessary component of their lives.

  • derekdj

    Facebook/Zuckerberg displays an incredible lack of understanding of the human psyche. I’m not so much concerned about the privacy issues (which are large in itself), but there are real emotional and social damage that can be caused by the direction that Facebook is heading.

    I would hope that now as a public company Facebook has a team of real social scientists on staff that analyze and vet features, instead of a bunch of techies and Zuckerberg sitting in a room going “wouldn’t it be cool”.

  • michaelp42

    You post stuff on Facebook and you kinda want it to be seen don’t you? Isn’t that kinda the point of it?

  • seriesrover

    Exactly. I can’t see how its an invasion of privacy if its something you signed up for.

  • TrishH

    its not just pictures, it also shows up for posts in that group as well. It shows when people have viewed the post.

  • Samnuo

    I’m not sure if that’s a very useful feature, who cares who looked at my pictures? Displaying the metadata, just like other places like flickr do, might be a better idea.

  • Andy Wheeler

    Where? Don’t see anything like this on my group pages… in fact, my facebook looks nothing like the photo posted above….

  • dusanmal

    This is not about posting on Facebook. This is about using and browsing through the Facebook. It IS invasion of privacy if at the time of you signing-in and visiting content you were not told that third-parties (other visitors of it and content poster) will have tracking info about what you do. This is new feature nobody informed anyone before implementing it, even in “experimental” form. You can’t have such behavior by the provider. Privacy policy and standards of usage must be fixed and kept in the form for which people initially signed-in until people OPT-IN for any changes. You can’t change policies and privacy standards without first asking users who signed in with different policies. Facebook keeps doing exactly opposite time and time again because there is no legal standing (well, legal issues are weak), just moral issues – and they lack latter. Real damage is to themselves. Keep such assaults on and no apologies would matter eventually. Habits withstand only so much abuse.

  • John Stead

    I need to be able to ban Group !!!!!! Facebook must give us this facility

  • John M. Richards

    There is a reason Facebook calls us “users” and not “customers”, You are not Facebook’s customer, you are its stock. It’s in the business of selling its customers access to information about you.

  • Tam Nguyen Photography

    I love that everyone bitches and moans about it, but no one does anything about it. Me, I stopped using Facebook for personal purposes since Sept 2011 when they rolled out the TImeline, and I’ve never looked back. Now, I only use Facebook page to post a few pictures and and there for my business, nothing more.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    The person who posted the picture is not the one getting screwed here. It’s the one who looked at the picture and then has the fact that they looked at it listed under the pictures.

  • Bing

    Never liked it. I mean I’m in a couple of FB groups and most of the time, I’d like to remain unseen’ whenever I check on the posts.

  • Keren

    How can i delet my name from the lists of a group picture or post?
    I don’t want people to know if i saw the post/picture or not!

  • haa

    what is the manner of the order of the names in the seen by box? why is it that now you’re the first to view, then next time in a list of 20, you’re at the second to the top?

  • Crow

    Sooo true… :)

    “wouldn’t it be cool”… ‘C-C-C-Coool’ – the moron’s mantra, and perhaps the only 4 sylable word many of them can pronounce. :P

  • jkfjcfhfhgbhjghgfhfhf




    Look at Facemash lol.