Simple Facebook content harvesting
May 22, 2017 8:07 AM   Subscribe

A friend passed away last night after a brutal struggle with cancer (which can just f*ck right off, by the way). He was a longtime Austin musician and my Facebook feed is flooded today with memories and photos from his huge network of friends. His family are very dear to me and I'd like to harvest all these good memories for them to look at later. HOPE ME.

Despite being an "information professional" I am woefully behind on a lot of the latest scraping tools. I have a tiny bit of API experience, wrote a basic scraper back in the day, but most of the social media scraping I've done lately is via Chrome extensions and other beginner tools.

As an academic, I have access to some text analysis tools (NVivo) that have import functions for various social media platforms, so that is an option, but I'm thinking there's a better way.

Essentially what I want to do is harvest all the posts from the "Friends of" FB group started last year, and grab all the new posts as they pop up. I'm a member of this group with my own FB account so I have access to it.

Any suggestions? Many thanks.
posted by pantarei70 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anything that looks like a scrape to Facebook could get your account disabled. I would probably just copy and paste or screenshot.

You could of course set up a dummy Facebook account and use a VPN or something to hide your location before you started scraping, but again that seems like a lot of work compared to copying and pasting or screenshotting.
posted by gregr at 9:35 AM on May 22


You might want to test this to see if it works, but if you like every post related to your friend's passing, do those posts end up in your data if you use FB's tool to download your data?
posted by COD at 9:42 AM on May 22


My Facebook feed is also full of heartfelt homages to him, and I don't even know him. Just know a lot of musicians who do. Would one of the Facebook-to-real-book services like this one work?
posted by raisingsand at 12:41 PM on May 22


You can save a Facebook post by clicking the drop-down arrow in the upper right corner and selecting "save." To see your saved items, go to the sidebar that has all your groups, events, etc. (I can't remember where this is on the web version, but in the Android app you tap the "hamburger" icon in the upper right), look under Favourites and select "Saved." I did this with all my dad's posts after he died last year, and they're still there.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 1:47 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


You want to use Facebook's Graph API. You don't need to scrape, just take a peek at the API - they've even got an API explorer that you can use to take a look at the data. A simple script with some JSON smarts should be able to snag all that you need. Good luck!
posted by destructive cactus at 11:21 PM on May 22


Thanks for all the good responses.

I think the Facebook Graph API is what I want - I'm going to give that a shot this weekend.
posted by pantarei70 at 3:08 PM on May 27


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