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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?

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  • rob

    This sort of feature exists on all the gay social networks which I use and its really useful. I’ve made some friends as a result, am able to block really creepy people, and to me its part of the fun of being in a social network.

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  • KPAC G

    you a-hole !!!!!!
    this brought it down !!

    I’ll search and find who you are
    I hope we never meet!!!

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Get over it, you’re so tough you use hyphens instead of full swear words.

    • Footstamp Lover

      because of people like the author of this article, this app was shut down, i was among the few ppl who had this app, and it was the best thing facebook could had at the time.
      no one should be talking about this and of course not write about it in blogs. shit
      now facebook is more boring then ever. thanks to you.
      you just couldn’t stay quiet about it…

  • KPAC G

    ID 512489100

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Well done, would you like a hug?

      • KPAC G

        how would YOUR friends like it if they knew you’ve been doing it ?
        I guess you consider “being tough” implies using only full-blown profanity…

        • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

          What’s your point?

          • darragh

            Whats going on?

          • Hollywood

            YOU KNOW WHAT I FIND CRAZY IS THAT YOU WOULD OUT THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAD IT, I MEAN IF THESE PEOPLE WERE WOLF ENOUGH TO HAVE IT FOR SO LONG AND MAKE SURE IT WAS NEVER FOUND OUT ABOUT, WOULD YOU REALLY WANT ALL THOSE PEOPLE AS YOUR ENEMIES? CAUSE THE WORD IS SPREADING IT WAS YOU …….

            • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

              You know what i find crazy? People who write whole paragraphs in capital letters and actually set up a fake emall address so they can comment on a blog.

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  • Tabto

    Mobile.inc you are responsible for the deletion of this great program! F++k you very much! For thoes of us that actually had it, facebook is boring now!

    best,

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Calm down, It was getting shut down in January due to the Facebook redesign anyway

      • tabto

        Ok fair enough. You may delete my post in that case.

      • FBInsid3r

        “Probably”. Why didn’t you wait until then ?
        Now the author doesn’t have his profile and LEGAL apps anymore and all chances of redesigning the “exploit” are almost zeroed. It survived policy updates three times – and stopped relying on the once-popular “background” vulnerability long time ago! Good thing is that one man proved the entire world “If it’s man-made – it’s flawed” no matter how big of a corporation makes it.
        I found my future wife with the help of this app – it really makes me sad that your efforts to become popular killed it.

        • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

          Does the ‘entire world’ consist of a couple of hundred people? I like how deep you’re going but seriously.
          Did you even read the full post?

          • FBInsid3r

            “The entire world” was convinced it’s not possible. FB designed a massive part of the API around it being “anonymous”.
            I’ve seen people willing to bet body parts to prove it’s only a myth.
            This was “The Holy Grail” of Facebook and only 260 of us knew the truth.
            You failed to be a real part of the “chosen”. I guess you are just not ment to become anything big in your life – when you miss an opportunity like that for just a few comments and links to your blog. FAIL.

            • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

              stop being a pussy and commenting anonymously. If you want to be heard don’t do it again.

              You’re clearly getting carried away, is your life defined by this application?

      • Hollywood

        *edited* I LOVE MOBILE INC AND I’M TOO SCARED TO COMMENT WITH MY REAL NAME, CAN I HAVE A HUG *end edit*

        • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

          no i’m ok thank you

          • Hollywood

            couldnt handle what was said? hurt your feelings so much you had to change it.. how sad.

            • Hollywood

              and why would i give you any of my personal info, you’ve already proven your not to be trusted…

            • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

              Yeah the way you told me to ‘shut up’ in your original comment really cut me deep.

  • Tabto1

    Huh what did htis thing do?

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      What thing?

  • TK

    Murat you are a dick! There was a couple of hundreds in the group but a LOT more people were using this app without being in the group. The developer didn’t pick who could have the app you are telling bullshit. If you had a friend who had it you could have joined, and even if it was closing in january (we’ll now never know if it was true) 2 weeks with this app are better than without. Why did you have to write that crap article?

    • FBInsid3r

      He’s in the group. He had the app. He knew all that was going on inside.

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Oh man shut the fuck up already Anthony, stop whinging.

      I’d be more interested to know what you thought about the implications for people without the app and how it would affect usage of Facebook and privacy issues, if you can muster some logical debate then post again, if not, fuck off.

      • Hollywood

        “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” William Shakespeare

        “Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.” Oscar Wilde

        “Life is not fair; get used to it.” Bill Gates

        “Expecting the world to be fair to you because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.”

        • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

          “Stop, it’s Hammer time” MC Hammer

          • Danny

            MC Hammer? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That made my weekend!

  • Shelts

    “All right stop! collaborate and listen
    Ice is back with my brand new invention, its this facebook app…” Vanilla Ice.

    • Darragh

      “Are We There Yet?” – Ice Cube

      • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

        “I Dreamed A Dream” – Susan Boyle

  • FS4EVER

    Well I guess you won, that little post of yours led to more comments than all of your precedent posts combined. (FYI because you seem to take things literally this a “figure of speech”, google it)
    However before bringing the app down, contacting the admin might have been a good move in the sake of the argument or get Facebook’s developers take on the feasibility of such. But I guess your battle for open information served no other purpose than your own little 15min of fame. Enjoy them because at the end of the day you’re just another sad unread blogger (aforementioned post aside)
    As far as I know (I had around 60 friends on it) the knowledge gained from footstamp was never used against anyone, user or not. Regarding our friends who knew about the app but didn’t have it, most of them found it a fun feature but didn’t cared much or stopped visiting our profiles at once.
    It didn’t transcend our browsing behaviour because no one is forced to upload content on Facebook, people do it willingly. If anything, it may even have been a good reminder of the notion of privacy on the www and one might have been more cautious after installing the app once you realize who can cruise through your personal infos, pics, status updates, a lot better than those hoax BS-groups “FACEBOOK IS GONNA USE YOUR PICS IF YOU DON’T JOIN THIS GROUP AND INVITE ALL YOUR FRIENDS”.
    The app wasn’t fool proofed either, you could get around it but since you didn’t bother to contact the developer, I’m not going to bother explain to you how.
    Anyway, thank you for breaking our toy, I hope it was worth it. In some way, you are the facebook xmas grinch.

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Au contraire my little anoymous hater, this isn’t actually my most popular post, that title goes to “Modern Warfare 2 Makes $310 Million In One Day” closely followed by “Mr T Goes Mobile”. Sorry about that.

      I’m going to address some of your comments because you are on the verge of a constructive argument rather than just being emotional.

      Your survey of your friends isn’t a valid assessment of how the masses would feel about this sort of app, partly because it not only shows friends who visit your page but those outside of that list too. So how do you know how those people feel?

      Here’s another scenario, lets say half of Facebook (150 million users) had this application but the other half didn’t, what kind of behavioural difference would that cause? Do you think people would carry on as normal or be more cautious? Would you second guess clicking on someone’s profile because you didn’t want them to think you were checking too much, stalker-style?

      It didn’t transcend our browsing behaviour because no one is forced to upload content on Facebook, people do it willingly. If anything, it may even have been a good reminder of the notion of privacy on the www and one might have been more cautious after installing the app

      Yes people use Facebook willingly, under the assumption that people can’t see when they are browsing through profiles, this would change that.

      The privacy & behavioural issues are the most interesting part, if you can follow up with something useful go ahead.

  • Anton

    *removed, more moaning and emotional breakdown, plus I’m out of hugs*

    • FS4EVER

      Agreed especially since he had no point except to create his own little buzz.

      • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

        Which ironically you’re contributing to by commenting repeatedly

  • Me

    Like FBInsid3r said it was our holy grail and not only you took it but you destroyed for what for??? The fame ??? History won’t even leave a footnote for you tomorrow the program will still be here and it will be better and stronger and you? Everybody will forget you only the people you took footstamp off will remember I don’t think you acttually realise in what mess you got into expect response it’s the only i thing i can say

    • Andrea

      *removed, more moaning and swearing zzz*

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Yes it was all about the fame, check out the front cover of this weeks Heat Magazine, you’ll see I’m all over it cos of this post.

  • Karl

    *removed*

    • http://FACEBOOKandproud Moaning commenter

      *removed, don’t swear or use the word ‘lulz’ on this site please*

  • Karl

    *removed*

    • http://FACEBOOKandproud Moaning commenter

      *removed, don’t swear or use the word ‘lulz’ on this site please*

  • Unknown

    So does this application give you the option of seeing the people, a particular person who has visited your profile, is stalking?

    for example Sue saw my profile, so do I get to see if Sue saw Tom and Cesar too.

    Note that neither Sue nor Cesar nor Tom are on my friend list.

    Thanks

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      No it’s just people who visit your profile, not where they go after

  • Matthew Herren

    After 3 years of successful use I would like to thank the author of this and this website for helping to draw facebook’s attention to it. Despite what you claim, footstamp had been around literally for YEARS and encouraging users to get an invite ‘quickly before it was shut down’ all but admits that you were assisting in its demise. As one of the original users I would once again like to thank you for being one of those people who, whether actively or complicity, tries to ruin something for those who have what they do not.

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      What are you talking about here?

      “Despite what you claim, footstamp had been around literally for YEARS and encouraging users to get an invite ‘quickly before it was shut down’

      Looks like someone was so eager to rant that they didn’t read the article. Read it again, what did I claim? where do I tell people to get a invite before it was shut down? I mention neither in the post.

      I knew about it for 2 years, big deal.

  • Matthew Herren

    And it was actually pretty easily circumvented, even by the app itself (you could opt into anonymous browsing as well as certain browser instances could prevent tracking)

    Whether it is good for facebook… obviously no, as even the rumor of this was enough for facebook to wipe all traces of its existence from it’s site. Having dealt with users who didn’t have it but were aware of its presence, it assuredly does affect user interaction… and on a mass scale it would effectively shut down the site.

    Having said that, it does not excuse intentionally making it public simply because you were unaware of how to obtain it for yourself. It effectively makes you the kid on the playground who told the teachers on the other students who weren’t playing by the rules simply because they wouldn’t include you in their game. Congratulations on that.

    • Rufio

      Thank you for ruining it.

      You are the kid that skins his knee and takes his ball to go home. You are the kid that is too scared to sneak off and egg houses so you tell on the other kids. You are Benedict Arnold, the Mata Hari, and Robert Hanssen.

      There was no malicious intent, no dark motives, just a heads-up when the quiet girl you met the night before was interested in your profile. You have made your allegiance to facebook, and used your power to hurt “the little guy.”

      We used this application for good, and now it is gone.

      • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

        Thank you for the multiple analogies, they were effective.

        Maybe the girl you met the night before was quiet because you scared the shit out of her

        • Matthew Herren

          ZING.

        • http://www.bibeep.com jonathan

          lol made my day

  • Matthew Herren

    You want to debate the merits of such a service, however, you ignore people’s rightful assertion that your actions directly contributed to its demise.

    What is to be gained by debating such things exactly? Due to its crippling effect on the social network, it would never be allowed, or even considered.

    No one is whining… just calling a spade a spade.

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Why are you asking that question on a blog that focuses on advertising and social media (Facebook especially) and looks into behavioral insights? The two are related. Do you ask a cooking blog why they show recipes for brownies? It was interesting to me, I wrote about it, the privacy insight is valuable, end of.

      Yeah lots of these comments don’t sound like whining at all, you’re right

  • PPweb

    wow, this was fabulous insight into the psyche of a FB-centric generation!

    as an original Friendster user, i’ve always attributed the above-discussed feature to its demise.

    and what of the person who is looking for “Scott Smith” and has to weed through 30 Scott Smiths before finding the right one to befriend? suddenly 29 Scott Smiths are suspicious of their unknown visitor’s activity?

    i’m guessing people using this app were the same people who scroll through their caller id to see whose call they missed… ;)

  • lexie

    First of all, contrary the majority of commentators,I’d like to applaud Murat for posting on this topic. The mark and responsibility of a civilized society is the ability to identify,call into question behavior which violates the rights of people(especially if they are not the “elite”)and engage in discourse.I am not a facebook user, but the app has broader implications, especially when considering the response to it. Even more disturbing than the existence of such a clandestine app was the reaction it illicited – almost a backlash aginst the poster, if you will.The fact that its outing so angered people who admittedly refer to it as a “toy” for the few is ominous at best. I can’t tell you how unnerving I find it that people are outraged not by the fact that such a program was being used but that they (all 260 of them) will no longer be able to use it to violate the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of people.And of all reasons for a play “toy”.Yes lets violate everyone’s rights because your bored and have no life.Users of this app do not have the right to be angry.If Facebook itself instituted such a program people would boycott by the millions.Also referring to this “privileged” group of people with special access to activities of millions as “the little guy” is a bit of a misnomer. On a lighter note, the irony of a program used to track and identify being “exposed” isn’t lost on me either.

    • Matthew Herren

      No one has a right to look at another person’s facebook profile. No privacy rights were violated as none existed in the first place. And while such an app is against Facebook’s TOS and it is within their right to shut it down, it seems people were questioning the author’s motives more than his right to write about such an ability.

      • David Stocker

        There are two issues here. The first, as pointed out above, is that if everyone knew who visited their profile, then visiting patterns would change. The mass consensual voyeurism of FB is one of the secrets to its success. The bargain is that others can’t see when you check out the profile of that girl you had a crush on in high school because you are curious as to what her life has become, but the price is that you can’t see when she does the same. If you don’t want the whole world to see something, you don’t put it in your profile.

        This is an example of the prisoner’s dilemma. Using Footprint is the equivalent of talking in the dilemma. It is an act of defection. It violates the bargain of “I can view, but I’m blind to my viewers”. Either everyone can see their viewers, or nobody can. Those is the only fair options.

  • tarum

    murat,
    you are seriously the biggest dick hole ever.
    i hate you for destroying this app.
    i had hopes, and you destroyed them.
    everything was going fine until you came along.

    Finally, someone came
    Up with an app that was really
    Cool, but you came along and couldn’t
    Keep
    Your mouth shut, wrote
    On you stupid blog, and just ruined it for
    Us all.

    (in actuality, i doubt you had any effect on the removal of this application at all. it’s just fun picking on you)

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      Did you deliberately write your comment like a poem for effect?

  • grizzy

    Murat you dirty fuck.
    pointing a public finger at a secret community makes you feel like a hero?
    you’ll be out when the next exclusive app. come to life.

    The whole complexity of such applications is to limit its members to a restraint number of people smart enough to understand that silence is the cost of their priviledge.

    I’m glad you at least had your moment of celebrity, hope this article got you a little more attention than what your boring life usually yields.

    wow this guys is dumb!

    • http://www.mobileinc.co.uk Murat

      See previous answers to other dickheads. Then jog on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tjtai1528 William Tai

    hi,how are you?,I’m from malaysia and trying to understand how your software that works wonders around the world.Great job well done

  • http://www.facebook.com/dangotlieb Dan Gotlieb

    I miss footstamp / prankme

    facebook will never be the same