Not long ago, Facebook removed the Graph Search function from their platform. Something that didn’t go unnoticed, especially by online investigators. This function previously allowed users to search for specific information among the wealth of public data on Facebook. Now, OSINT experts and researchers are sharing alternative solutions.
With Facebook’s graph search, users could simply type in plain language (i.e., sentences and not just keywords) to indicate what they were looking for, and then filter search results by specific criteria. That way, users could easily track down posts, comments, pictures, and other types of content and interactions across Facebook. This function was especially important to professional investigators.
When it stopped working just about a month ago, the OSINT community reacted to say the very least. But luckily, several OSINT experts and researchers have taken the matter into their own hands and devised a few workaround techniques and tools to get the job done. Just remember, it is still your responsibility to comply with the Facebook Terms of Service.
Here are three alternative tools and techniques for Facebook searches that online investigators are buzzing about most:
With IntelligenceX’s graph searcher, you can search for posts from a particular date or month, as well as posts written by a specific person, or about a certain subject. A great compliment to Facebook’s remaining search function. We also found that this tool works great when searching for unknown people, i.e. when you don’t know who you are looking for – which can be quite often for online investigation cases.Try it here
Sowdust is a Firefox extension for executing graph-like searches onFacebook. The extension allows you to overwrite some search queries with more specific ones, such as people by city, school, employer, and friends. It is also possible to filter by start and end date, and by specific keywords.Try it here
Similar to Sowdust, this is a Firefox extension that lets you perform searches based on the workaround by Social Links. With SearchBook,it is possible to search by groups, visited places, liked photos, etc. You can also combine different search formats to be even more specific. However, right now the tool may only be used for educational purposes. For more information about SearchBook, we recommend you read this great article by Jake Creps.Try it here
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