In late November 2023, we received reader mail that asked about a specific Facebook rumor. According to the emails, the rumor was about Facebook posts that claimed that typing an "@" symbol in a comment box, selecting the word "highlight" from a pop-up menu and then submitting the comment would allow a user to see which friends had been lurking on their profile or page more than anyone else.
The gist of this rumor was that this supposed "@" and "highlight" method would produce a small list of Facebook friends, perhaps family members, close friends and maybe even anyone who was secretly and romantically attracted to the user.
'Type @ in the Comments'
One version of this rumor was shared as follows: "Type @ in the comments and then click highlight to see who’s always checking your profile. If it turns blue you got page watchers."
It's Not Real
However, here's the truth: This rumor is false. While users who post photos and videos to Facebook stories and Instagram stories truly are able to see who has viewed their content, there's no truth to the idea that there's a secret way to find out which users have specifically been looking at a Facebook profile.
It's Also Not Possible
As the social media company once noted on its own official help center website, "Facebook doesn't let people track who views their profile." Also, third-party apps don't provide this functionality, either, according to the page.
The Legitimate Reason @highlight Exists
To test the "@" and "highlight" rumor, we chose a Facebook post (a scam post that falsely claimed investors on "Shark Tank" endorsed keto weight loss gummies) and simply typed out "@highlight." Before posting the comment, a menu popped up that listed various Facebook pages that included the word "highlight" in them. Near the bottom of the list, "@highlight" was mentioned with the words, "Some friends might receive notifications."
Upon selecting the "@highlight" feature with the words about friends receiving notifications and then posting the comment, the "@highlight" text turned blue and turned into a link. Clicking on this link simply led to a Facebook page that displayed pending friend requests. The link did not display any current Facebook friends who might be repeatedly viewing a user's profile. (The URL that the "@highlight" link led to was facebook.com/find-friends/browser.)
As for the "@highlight" comment feature itself, Distractify.com published in October 2023 that its legitimate purpose is to allow users "to highlight a particular post by increasing its size and visibility." We reached out to Facebook for more details and will update this story if we receive a response.
Why Some Users Shared the Rumor
Aside from the innocent users who were sharing the viral posts because they believed the false rumor, the Rick's Daily Tips website reported that some profiles and pages were also spreading the "hoax" in order to boost engagement via likes, comments and shares. In theory, this strategy would potentially attract more users to help a profile or page grow with followers, perhaps making it valuable enough in the future to be sold to scammers. The original creator of the profile or page also might opt to use it to create malicious posts or ads that violate Meta's policies, writer Rick Rouse added.
As a general rule, we don't recommend placing blind trust in viral copy-and-paste posts that describe supposed secrets of Facebook's functionality. Such dubious rumors have been spread for the nearly two decades of the social media platform's existence, such as the false claim that copying and pasting a specific block of text will help a user to remove ads and display more content from friends. These kinds of rumors simply aren't true.
In the words of a woman in a years-old American TV ad that appeared to allude to Facebook's technology, "That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works."