Plessas Experts Network

Facebook Matrix

Formulas for Searching Facebook

This is a living document and is constantly changed, check back often


Get a Facebook ID

Manually get a Facebook ID

Facebook changes the ways to get ID numbers in the URL periodically, although they are often still visible in certain page URLs. The best way to consistently get an ID manually is via the source code. Note that you do not have to be logged in to get the FBID.

On the main page of any user profile, right click on unused space. Use ctrl+U (command+option+U on OSX) or in the right click menu, choose “View Page Source”.

In the following page of HTML, use ctrl+F (command+F on OSX) and open a search tool. Search for entity_id and the following number will be the Facebook ID number of the user, group or page.

Note that in some cases the group or user page ID will be in the original URL and for a place, it will always be in the URL.


Searching using Facebook’s native search and advanced techniques/tools

Currently, the best search techniques to use on Facebook vary depending on what you are searching. There are a variety of search options.

Native search

Facebook’s native search can be very effect and, in some cases, more effective than searching using third party tools or convoluted techniques. For example, probably the most efficient way (currently) to search for photos a person has been tagged in (even if they removed the tag) is to search for photos of a certain person. This is strangely dependent on filters at times. In some cases, when adding a filter such as a location or a source, you can gain much more data. We suggest mapping out the user’s page before attempting this search so that there are multiple ways to filter through friends and locations.

Basic tips for using the native Facebook search:

  • Choose the search result desire from the topical tabs on the top of the search result page, such as Posts, People, Pages, etc

  • Search filters change by topic, so take a look at any topics that may match your search for different options

  • When using the filters, changing your search query in the search box will clear out the filters. If you want to keep them, in most cases, changing the search query in the URL will work

    • https://www.facebook.com/search/posts/?q=holiday&epa=FILTERS&filters= (this link does not work and is for example only)

    • https://www.facebook.com/search/posts/?q=christmas&epa=FILTERS&filters= (this link does not work and is for example only)

  • MORE COMING - UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Facebook Search tools

A number of search tools are available to help navigate the Facebook search. They replicate the current search capability with interfaces that guide searching which may, in some cases, seem easier to use. Additionally, they allow for searching using the ID number, while the native Facebook search will only give a limited number of matching items. For example, if you are trying to add a user named Mike Smith to the filters, you may not see the exact user you are trying to add as one of those suggested by Facebook in the native search, but the following tools will allow the exact ID to be used.

Usage tips:

  • Double check your results. We have seen some false results come through. This is true of any tool though.

  • Maybe sure you clicked to add the filters in most of these tools. This can be previewed near or below the link to conduct the search

OTHER Search Engines

Local Businesses Search: https://www.osintcombine.com/facebook-geo-pages


JSON to BASE64 TRANSLATION

Instructions from Nemec: https://gist.github.com/nemec/2ba8afa589032f20e2d6509512381114

Our (hopefully) easy to read primer: https://plessas.net/blog/2019/8/14/facebook-searching

OSINTCurious: Part 1 and Part 2

Facebook uses ID numbers for everything in the system. If the string includes an ID number, a placeholder such as (PLACEID), (PAGEID), or (USERID) will be present in the below matrix and should be replaced with an ID number. Variables in the graph below are noted in red.

Disclaimers:

  • These searches can be blocked by making full use of Facebook privacy options.

  • Facebook is constantly changing so some of these that worked yesterday may not work today and yet might still work tomorrow.

  • This page is best viewed on, and the URLs are best used on laptops/desktops

The following URL works only on your own account, however you do not have to be friends with the second user. This will show friends in common, posts and photos in common, and any other linking data, such as hometowns, schools, etc.

facebook.com/friendship/(username)/(username)

The following URL will find mutual friends who have public friendslists as long as one of the users searched has a public friendslist

facebook.com/browse/mutual_friends/?uid=(person ID)&node=(person ID)