How to Find Out If Someone Is on Facebook

How to Find Out If Someone Is on Facebook
Graphics: Nathaniel Blum

Sheila Olson
November 22, 2019

These days, social media is where you can look to reconnect with an old friend or perhaps find out more information about a new acquaintance. As the most popular social media platform in the world, Facebook would be an obvious first choice to start your search.

Here’s what you need to know to find out if someone is on Facebook—even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

How to find someone on Facebook

Facebook is by far the most popular social media site. Nearly 70% of U.S. adults are on the app, and almost 3 billion people check their accounts every month. If you can’t find someone on Facebook today, don’t give up: More than 500,000 people a day sign up for a Facebook account.

Facebook users often list their workplace, current city, phone number, alma maters and even relationship status on their profile page. Some share real-time information about places they go and their activities with the “check-in” feature. And if you’re curious how a childhood friend or an ex looks today, chances are good you’ll find a current picture (Facebook users upload over 300 million photos a day).

Keep in mind that not everything is what it seems on Facebook and other social media apps. Experts estimate that 83 million Facebook profiles are fake, so you may want to double check any personal details you uncover on Facebook before you act on it. One way is to run a people search, which could give you a more complete picture of a person.

Find someone on Facebook by name

The app’s search bar is one of the easiest ways to find out if someone’s on Facebook.

  • Log into your Facebook account on a desktop or mobile device.
  • Type the person’s name in the search bar.
  • Tap the “people” tab at the top to filter out business or event pages.
  • Review the list of matches and profile photos to find the person you’re looking for.

Find someone on Facebook by name step-by-step

Find someone on Facebook by phone number

Not everyone makes phone numbers public, but it’s worth a try.

  • Open your Facebook app.
  • Enter the phone number in the search bar at the top of your desktop or mobile device screen.
  • If the person’s phone number is public, the user name will appear in the search results.

Search someone on Facebook by phone number step-by-step

Find someone on Facebook by school

Facebook was originally designed to connect college students in an online community, so it’s not surprising that people still include past and current school information in their Facebook profile. If you’re looking for a classmate, you can try searching by school.

  • Open your Facebook app and type the school name in the search bar.

  • Select the school you want to search from the results.

  • Tap the “people” tab at the top of your screen to limit results to students and faculty associated with the school.

  • Select the person you’re looking for from the names and profile pictures in the search results.

    Find someone on Facebook by school step-by-step

Find friends of friends on Facebook

Imagine you meet someone at a friend’s party you’d like to connect with later, but you didn’t get a full name. If you and your friend are Facebook friends, you might be able to get in touch with the person by searching your friend’s Facebook connections.

  • Open Facebook and find your friend’s profile.
  • Tap the “friends” tab to see who your friend is friends with and look for the name or picture of the person you want to find.

Find someone on Facebook by mutual friends search step-by-step

Find someone on Facebook if you don’t have an account

You may see if someone is on Facebook even if you don’t have an account, but there’s no guarantee your search will uncover results. Facebook users can change their privacy settings to stop their names from showing up on search engine results. If the person’s profile turns up in your search results, you’ll see the information they make public even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

  • Open up your preferred search engine and type the word “Facebook” followed by the person’s first and last name.
  • Click on the result that matches the person you want to find to see publicly available Facebook information.

Search for someone on Facebook without a Facebook account step-by-step

Other ways to search for someone online

You might find someone by running a basic internet search; just type the person’s name in your browser search bar and see what pops up. Depending on what the person makes public, you might find some basic information. Searching social media sites may be more helpful if the person has an account, although you may also need an account to see it. And depending on the platform, the other person may be able to see if you’ve viewed their profile.

You can also use a people search tool to anonymously look up someone online. If you have a name, phone number or email address, you could try to uncover more useful information.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.