facebook logo

Update: As you can tell from the angry comments, the app got shut down.

Question for you – would you like to know who visits your Facebook profile without them knowing? Course you would. I’m sure the majority of people would love a feature like that, I even think many would even pay for it.

Well there is such a application available. It not only allows you to see what friends of yours have been looking at your profile but also those who aren’t even in your friends list. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen the secret application with my own eyes and tried it out.

I know that such apps are totally against the Facebook Developer Policy, after all, how much fun would Facebook be if you couldn’t stalk in total anonymity? What I didn’t know is that this sort of stuff was possible with the Facebook API, but these loopholes apparently exist.

Of course there are a ton of those crappy ‘profile visitor’ applications where you can see who visits your profile…as long as they have the same app too, which makes it completely pointless. This application requires only you to have it installed.

If everyone could do this it would dramatically change user behaviour on Facebook, people would use far more caution when browsing through photo albums of friends of friends or people they barely know. It would basically ruin a large part of what makes the site good. But right now for a select few that have the app, it’s probably amazing.

It’s called Footstamp and only has a few hundred actual users. This is because it has a closed invite system (i.e you need to know the developer, if you add it you’ll just get a error page) which is a smart move because it keeps it controlled and less likely to get shut down (Google searches brings up nothing about it). More info in the Facebook Footstamp group.

When your in the application you can see your last 20 visitors as well as your top 20 most frequent. Screenshots below:

facebook-exploit-track-visitors-Footstamp0

facebook-exploit-track-visitors-Footstamp

You even get some cool analytic style graphs with how many visitors you get over the month:

facebook-exploit-track-visitors-Footstamp4

Oh and some settings too:

facebook-exploit-track-visitors-Footstamp3

Here are the installation instructions if you’re curious how it’s done (remember it’s not open to everyone, the developer picks who gets it) – Step by step instructions or video.

I did some research and found this blog post by Shaun Walker on how he achieved exactly the same thing with his Facebook application called Top Visitor, before the exploit got patched by Facebook and stopped the app from working. Shaun provides quite a detailed explanation on how it was done technically so head on over.

If you read the comments on his application there seems to be a real mix of opinions, while lots of users state that this should be a default feature of Facebook (and their right to know), just as many say it’s a total invasion of privacy and should be stopped. I can imagine some pretty embarrassing situations.

It’s a really interesting topic. Even though I agree with the privacy issue, I can’t help but want the application, perhaps it’s part of the same inquisitiveness that makes the news feed such a success or maybe it’s because no one else has it. What do you think?