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Scraping Facebook: An Awesome Tool for Grabbing Data from Posts

Scraping Facebook: An Awesome Tool for Grabbing Data from Posts

I am sure many of you would like some help scraping. By scraping, I mean the technique of extracting information from websites. Specifically, the posts of a Facebook group.

When I was working on one of my early projects entitled Youth, ICTs, and Democracy in Egypt with the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the iSchool, we needed to undergo a qualitative coding exercise for approximately 700 Facebook posts from the April Youth Movement Facebook group. However, at the time of data collection, Facebook’s format did not enable users to browse through old posts. Additionally, the number of daily posts was immense; manual collection would have been prohibitively time-consuming.

I quickly realized the need for an application to save me time while collecting Facebook posts. So we developed an application using the Facebook Graph API, which is a way for developers to access Facebook data and build applications.

Check out the Facebook scraping application here.

How to Use the Application
 

  1. Before using the tool, log in with your Facebook account on the top of tool page.
  2. After logging in, add the name of the Facebook group that you want to extract the posts from. I recommend copying it from Facebook.
  3. Add the start date of the posts you want to display.
  4. Add the end date of the posts you want to display.
  5. Add the number of posts.
  6. Click submit.

facebook scraping in article

The results are going to show in a bulleted list for readability and ease of use.

I really hope you could benefit from using this free application and feel free to ping me if you had any questions or concerns. Also, I would like to hear from you, what do you think of the app? Would it be beneficial for you?

(Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Norah’s blog, where she’s getting a lot of feedback on the tool. She’s currently considering tweaks to the code to include pages as well as groups.)

About Norah Abokhodair

Norah is a Ph.D. student and part of the Value Sensitive Design Lab. She’s a researcher in the arena of information security and privacy and her research interests ranges between two major topics: (1) social media and social change (2) raising awareness to privacy and security in cloud computing applications. Currently, her dissertation focuses on understanding privacy concerns and conceptions of non-western users of mobile applications.

2 comments

  1. Norah:

    A friend of mine is battling late stage colon cancer. For three years he has been resolute about posting his daily thoughts and prayers as well as asking for prayers. I would like to assemble these into a book, publish, and then sell to raise money for his family. Would this app work if I am just grabbing his posts on his site? I don’t what to grab the replies or likes etc.

    Thanks

    Paul

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