1. Facebook can look up mobile phone numbers
One of the features
that work on some peoples' accounts but not others' is
the ability to find profiles associated with a mobile
phone number. Just type it into the search box. If it
doesn't work, try adding the country code or log into
another Facebook account.
2. You can find hidden
profiles by guessing email addresses
You can usually find
someone's profile by searching for the email address
they used to sign up for Facebook.
Email addresses can
sometimes be found online. Corporate email addresses
usually run to a
format and can be worked out. Many
people will use one of the top free email providers and,
if paired with their name or regular online username,
you can have a pretty good guess when trying to find a
3. Your email address
may not be so private
Anyone can see a
partially redacted version of your email address by
simply clicking on "Forgot
Your Password?" on Facebook's log in page, and
entering your user name.
your friends list can probably see your email address,
even if you haven't disclosed it on your profile. You
can find your friends' email addresses by pairing your
Facebook account with a Yahoo email address, logging
into Yahoo email and choosing to import contacts from
your Facebook account.
privacy concerns can be solved by checking your Facebook
privacy settings and by using a unique, non-guessable
email address to sign up.
4. Your friends list
may not be so private
You may have made your
friends list private, but people can still see who has
liked your pictures. Many of your friends will have
clicked like on some of the photos you have uploaded and
a list of these people can be obtained by searching for
"People who like pictures posted by" you.
who "friend requests" you will see your private friends
suggested to them as "people you may know", whether or
not you accept their friend request.
5. Different profiles
have access to different searches
Facebook's search is
have different search features, so if you have no luck
using your own account, try using an old account or
getting a friend to search for you.
You may get a much
better search facility if you change your language
settings to "English (US)" instead of your native
9. Searching for
photo comments & likes
Using Facebook Graph
searches, people can see a list of the publically
viewable photos you have clicked "like" on and read the
comments you posted.
Once again, this
involves looking up a user ID and pasting it into a web
address. Let's use Mark Zuckerberg's again. If you look
in his page's html code, you will see that Mark's
Facebook ID is the number 4.
A Graph search address
to find the photos he likes, would be:
A Graph search address to
find the photos he has commented on, would be:
You can also do a Graph
search to find the photos he has been tagged in:
10. Photos can be traced back to Facebook
Images on webpages have
their own file names. Some might be named after the
subject (e.g. "centralpark.gif"). Some might have been
automatically named by the camera that took the photo
(e.g. "dsc_1234.jpg"). Others will have been named by a
You can see an image's
name by simply right-clicking on it and saving it onto
If you upload an image
to Facebook or Instagram, its name will be changed to
something really long and complicated - usually
consisting of 3 bunches of numbers, separated by
underscores and finishing with n.jpg. So if you ever see
an image named like that it's probably spent some of its
life on Facebook.
The second bunch of
numbers in this file name, relates to the Facebook
account the image was uploaded to.
The photo above belongs
to the photographic artist, Marc Blackie. If you copy
and paste the second bunch of numbers into a
Facebook.com web address, you'll find the image in
Marc's Facebook photo album.
that's no guarantee of the subject and ownership of any
photo, but this technique can provide useful clues in an
11. You can search the
net by profile picture
People often use the
same profile pictures on various websites and social
networks, so it's often handy see see where else they
You can do this by
uploading saved pictures to services like
Images (click on the little camera icon in
the search box).
If you are using
Chrome, you simply have to right-click on the photo and
choose "search Google for this image".
will then show you addresses of other pages where your
chosen image appears, e.g. Twitter accounts, blogs and
personal web sites.
12. You can tell Google
Images to only look on Facebook
You can restrict a
Google Image search to Facebook page, by adding
site:facebook.com to the
This also works with
Google's reverse image search feature, as does the date
range feature found by clicking on "search tools".
13. You can give
yourself extra search powers
If you are prepared to
do a little bit of research and some cutting and
pasting, you can make your searches more powerful and
Facebook introduced its
new search back in December 2014, but it has many
problems, not least its inability to specify search
subjects. You can search for mutual friends of Dave
Jones & John Smith, but you can't specify which Dave
Jones or John Smith you are interested in.
The previous Facebook
"Graph Search", allows you to specify people and pages
in your search, and a lot more beyond. You can still use
it. Find out how by visiting
guide. See also
Facebook's old Graph search allows you to specify people
and pages in your search
14. There are many ways to
research topics in Facebook
The Facebook Search
use search box, but it tends to give you stuff your
friends posted. It's a little bit fuzzy and not much use
for journalists, but it might me useful.
If you are after a page, rather than a person, you need to specify this in
your search. For example, a
simple search for "Steve McQueen" will find you
pages about the 1960's U.S. icon, rather than the British director of 12
Years a Slave.
Instead, search specifically for
pages named "Steve McQueen". The results
are radically better and include the British director as
well as the U.S. actor.
You may find this approach helps with
all of your
searches for people, places, photos, events etc.
also search through your own Facebook posts by searching
"my posts about" whatever it is you need to find.
You can search Facebook via google, using the syntax
site:facebook.com. You can specify which words
should be in the title of the Facebook page by using
intitle: followed by the word. For example, Facebook
pages that are about Interpol, but mention Sweden.
search for Topics by ID
You can use find a reasonable cross section of posts on
a subject by firstly finding its page's Facebook ID
News page has the code 228735667216
then adding this code to the address
http://www.facebook.com/topic/ - for example, posts
search for posts that have been hashtagged in Facebook
by simply adding the tagged word to the end of this web
hashtagged with #clarkson
Interestingly, you get different results by typing
posts with the hashtag "clarkson" into Facebook's
search box, so it's worth trying that as well.
should save save pages and archive your own stuff
Facebook accounts often disappear within hours of
someone making the news. People make their walls and photos private without
warning. If you are investigating someone on Facebook, remember to save
copies their pages - anything poignant to the piece and especially friends
You can do
this, crudely, by highlighting text, copying and pasting
into a word document, but it is much better to save each
page on the profile as an individual web page. You can
do this in your browser by typing control +s and
choosing a place to save the files on your computer.
is done, it's a good idea to open it up again and check
that the page has saved properly. Some browsers save the
wrong page. If you have problems, switch to a different
also want to save all the photos, posts and friends
lists from your own Facebook account. This is easily
done. Go to
your settings, click on "Download a copy of your
Facebook Data" and follow the instructions.
If you have any Facebook
tricks, tips or secrets to share, please get in touch.