NOTE: Facebook are currently changing their search tools on an almost daily basis. If the tools below don’t function correctly, try one of the alternatives.
Facebook search tools are developing all the time.
Facebook Graph Search is a ‘Semantic’ search tool provided within Facebook. This tool allows the user to search Facebook using natural language or phrases.
So, for example, you can search Facebook for ‘people who work at British Airways’ by typing this phrase in to the Facebook search field.
However, some of the functionality of Graph Search has changed recently, so here we will look at a straightforward method for you to use to enhance your Facebook searching using built in features.
You will need a Facebook account and you will need to be logged in to use the techniques discussed here.
If you want to use Facebook Graph Search in full, you will need to set your Facebook language to English (US) on a computer, by clicking the ‘settings’ tab and then ‘Languages’.
The simplest way to use Facebook Graph Search is to simply type is your search term into the Facebook search box – for example – ‘photos posted by Jo Ellis‘ or ‘places checked in by Jo Ellis’
Remember to select the ‘Places’ tab, in this case, as we are looking for places.
This may provide the desired result, but there is another method if this fails.
The first thing you will need is the unique Facebook ID of the person, group or organisation you are interested in.
To do this to use the socmint.tools website.
In Facebook, find your subjects Facebook profile page and click on their name, in the profile. This sanitises the Facebook profile URL in the browsers URL bar.
Copy the full URL of your subjects Facebook page from the URL bar.
Open socmint.tools in a new tab and click on option 2 ‘Find Facebook ID’
Paste the Facebook URL it into the search box.
The subjects unique Facebook ID will be displayed. Copy it and close the tab.
So, the unique Facebook ID of Jo Ellis is 100006229980571
Once you have obtained your subjects unique Facebook ID, click on option 3 at socmint.tools ‘Graph Search’
Paste the unique Facebook ID against the desired search criteria and click the associated button.
Results will be displayed in a new browser tab.
Facebook entities such as groups, communities and organisations also have a unique Facebook ID which can be located in the same fashion.
If you receive the error below, try method 2.
You will find that results returned will depend on the privacy settings of your subject.
However, also look at your subjects profile to ensure all of the available data has been returned.
Remember that available information from Facebook profiles can be limited by the privacy settings of the subject.
For the second method of obtaining the unique Facebook ID you will need to:
- right click on a blank area of your subjects Facebook page
- select ‘View Page Source’ which reveals the pages HTML script
- search the script that appears for the term ‘profile_id’ by using ctrl + f – enter the term profile_id in the search box and clicking highlight all. Don’t press enter.
- The first occurrence will be followed by the Facebook ID of your subject
Facebook often change their interface, settings and features – more details about Facebook privacy settings can be found here.
Here is a link to a website called stalkscan.com that conducts graph searches for you, just enter the Facebook URL of the subject in the search box.
Finally, check out this excellent post by Paul Myers at Research Clinic