Stalkscan is a free online service that allows you to search for public information on any Facebook user using Facebook’s own APIs.
Facebook has removed, changed, and improved privacy controls multiple times over the past decade. At this time, the information is divided into visibility groups. These groups are: just me, friends, friends of friends, and public.
Public means that anyone can see the information. Since it’s relatively easy to post publicly, or get friends to expose posts, images, or other content to the public, it’s strongly recommended that you exercise extreme caution before posting anything on Facebook.
Stalkscan, a service with a rather creepy name, can be used to search all publicly available information on any Facebook user. At least some of the data is not directly accessible on Facebook, for example, when you open a user’s profile on the social networking site.
Simply enter the URL of the Facebook user profile in Stalkscan and then press the Enter key. The service loads the public information and shows it sorted by groups and types on the same page.
There is an options menu at the top that you can use as a filter. It allows you to filter data by time, online status, gender, age or marital status.
The following groups are currently supported:
- Profile: Public profile information including pictures, videos, posts, groups, past and future events, games, and apps.
- People: Family, friends, friends of friends, coworkers, classmates, and locals.
- Interests: Pages, political parties, religion, music, movies, books and places.
- tags: Videos, images, and posts that the user tagged or was tagged in.
- Comments: Comments the user posted on Facebook.
- Taste: Images, videos or posts that the user liked.
- Places: Places the user visited, including bars, restaurants, shops, outdoors, hotels, and theaters.
A click on an entry opens the page on Facebook. Not all entries may reveal information. Those who do so may reveal the search string used by Stalkscan to reveal the information on Facebook.
One of the main uses of the service is to test your own profile to see if it leaks information that you don’t want to share with the public. Anyone with access to Stalkscan or comparable services can look up the information.
What you can do if you find information that you want to change the visibility of is open the content on Facebook, log in to your account (if you haven’t already), and edit or delete your connection to the content.
You can remove a like, for example, remove one of your comments, or change the visibility of items so they are no longer publicly available.
If you’ve posted a lot on Facebook, you can also use a privacy tool that Facebook makes available to change the visibility of all the posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or the public in one go.
To do this, load https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy in your browser and click the “limit previous posts” option on the page. This allows you to bulk edit the visibility of those posts. (thanks Ileva)
Now you: Does the visibility of your data on Facebook or the Internet matter to you?