Why Can't I View My Facebook Friends' Pictures?

By Elizabeth Falwell

The social networking website Facebook allows users to share everything from their status updates to pictures, videos and links. Since its creation in 2004, the Facebook team has tweaked the site's privacy policies, changing the way you interact with your friends. The setting options allow you to access some information on your friends' Timelines, but not necessarily all of it.

Privacy Layers

Facebook gives you the ability to limit what information in your profile you share with other users. The website's default settings automatically allow everyone to see all your information, including your pictures. Facebook's next layer of privacy protection allows users to share information only with their approved friends. But Facebook's settings go a step further; they enable users to limit which friends have access to which information. This means that while someone may be your friends on Facebook, you might not be able to see some -- or even all -- of her pictures.

Privacy Settings

There are multiple reasons why you may be unable to see your friends' pictures on Facebook. The first is a change in your friends' privacy settings. All Facebook users have the ability to restrict who can see their tagged photos and videos (images and videos uploaded by other users, but labeled with their Facebook user name) by customizing their privacy settings. Customizable settings allow your friends to add the names of individuals who cannot access the pictures, even if other individuals on their friends list can. If your name is on this list, you will not be able to see this friend's tagged photos.

Individual Album Settings

Another way your Facebook friends can limit who sees their photos is by adjusting the settings of individual albums. Options for individual albums include allowing Friends Only, Friends of Friends, Networks and Just Me (the owner of the album). If the album owner has made the album private to everyone but himself, even his friends won't be able to view the pictures in the album. Additionally, individual albums can have customized settings. Just as with the custom settings for tagged photos and videos, users can add the names of their Facebook friends to a blocked list; anyone whose name appears on the list will not be able to see or access the images contained in that album. Your friends can have different privacy settings for different albums, meaning you might be able to see some albums and not others.

Technical Glitches

From time to time, Facebook -- like all other websites -- can suffer from technical glitches that may prevent you from accessing certain information. If you notice you're having a problem viewing a friend's photos, ask that individual if he's allowed you access to those images. If he has and you still can't see them, contact Facebook to file a troubleshooting report by clicking on the "Help" tab at the very bottom right side of the website.