I was going to write about a feature that facebook should introduce, but then I went looking for it in the settings and discovered it was already there. But since I didn’t know it existed, I am going to assume at least a number of other people didn’t see it either.

The feature is the ability to view your profile as another individual.

Type a friends name to see how they see your profile

Type a friends name to see how they see your profile

This is going to be very important as Facebook begins to encourage users to divide their friends into groups, each with different privacy allowances.

Here’s how it works: If your settings allow some people to only view specific information (for example, your mom can only see the photos of you studying, not doing keg-stands) you can use this to view your page as if you were them. While you should be able to determine what they can see by fiddling with the settings, this gives a great added “peace-of-mind” level to the security settings. You don’t just need to trust that you got all the settings right, you can view it to make sure.

While you probably won’t care too much about checking each and every person, or every group, this is great for the people who you really want to ensure are seeing certain content (ie. bosses, parents, and kids). As facebook becomes a bigger and bigger catalog of everyone you’ve ever met, tools like this are going to make it much easier to monitor your image without resorting to mass unfriending (if you want to do that, check out this great discussion on haligonia.ca, with master unfriender Joel Kelly).

I would also love to see this improved to allow you to view how your profile appears to people who are not your friend, or people within your networks who are not your friend. I have my settings set to disable my profile to all nonfriends, but it’s always nice to get confirmation that this is happening.