How to use Facebook Graph Search
Experienced researchers know that Facebook's
search box has very limited and unpredictable functionality. However, there are
tricks that can be used to squeeze a better search out of the world's most
popular social network.
By formulating a special web address, we can use
Facebook's older "Graph" search and, with patience and imagination, we can use
this to perform amazing searches.
These special search web addresses all begin with
https://www.facebook.com/search/ and are followed by a combination of ID
numbers and special "search operator" commands.
There are two main styles of Graph searching
Facebook; a search with ID numbers and and a search with words (or "strings" in
nerd-speak ). Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
Searching with Facebook ID numbers
Searching with ID numbers is precise and will directly only on
the person or page with a certain ID number.
You can use sites like
lookup-id.com to look up the ID associated
with a Facebook account or page.
For example, Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page is
When we look up the ID number of Zuck we see that it is the
A graph search for places visited by Mark will use this Facebook
ID number and the search operator "places-visited". The search web address will
look like this.
Searching with strings
Searching with strings is less precise than using
Facebook ID numbers, but more flexible ("fuzzy" in nerd-speak).
A search for places visited by *anyone*
named Mark will use the code "str" followed by the name and will look like this:
Intersecting multiple searches
Sometimes you'll want to create cool tailored searches that meet
your needs. These can include a combination of factors and involve multiple
strings and ID numbers.
For example, we might want to find people named Mark who have
visited Boston in Lincolnshire, UK. If we did this entirely with strings,
we might get Boston in Massachusetts, instead, as Facebook wouldn't know
which Boston we wanted.
If we added the Facebook ID number for the UK city,
106646729369602, we would get the Boston in England. The
search looks like this:
Remember to add /intersect
to the end of combination searches.
Adding optional terms into a search
Using /union will allow you
to add in option possibilities, for example
a search for people named Mark or Tony who have visited Boston.
I have compiled the above list of Facebook graph search operators.
Sometimes they work, other times they are suspended. Please let me know if you
discover more or need any training on how to use them.