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.
How to Use the Application
- Before using the tool, log in with your Facebook account on the top of tool page.
- After logging in, add the name of the Facebook group that you want to extract the posts from. I recommend copying it from Facebook.
- Add the start date of the posts you want to display.
- Add the end date of the posts you want to display.
- Add the number of posts.
- Click submit.
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.)