So, you found a Profile on Facebook. Now, where do I go from here? That’s the question I get most often and I can tell you that scrolling through timelines, photo albums and Facebook Likes is the hard road to travel.
Facebook’s People Search actually begins after you find the Profile. In this post I’m sharing 5 queries to launch this journey using Facebook Graph URLs. Each query has a different strength and a different focus. Each also leads us down different paths.
For background, see my previous articles on The Language of Facebook and Finding Facebook IDs. Power searchers should check out my book series Facebook Search for the full set of queries with flow charts and practical exercises.
If you’re looking for the default starting point, this is it. The /photos-of/ query requests all Photos tagged to a Profile. This means you’ll see all Photos that someone else linked to the Profile you’re interested in. It also includes Photos uploaded by that person as the Profile Photo unless it’s set to private.
Photo tags can be anything from a picture to a business logo, a funny Meme, or just about anything you can upload to Facebook. And, that’s what’s great about this search. Tags provide information about almost any Profile, private or public, provided it has connections and is actively used. Accounts can, of course, block tags and when we suspect this we move onto query #2. You can see this query in action by clicking the links below.
Profile Photos and Photos Tagged to Profile by Anyone
Profile Photos and Profile Tagging Itself
Photos Tagged to Profile by Year
This search provides a glimpse into the account holder’s personality and their level of sharing on Facebook. The Friends’ Tags also share their perspective from their timeline. You might not see the same Photos on the timeline of Profile you’re targeting. Friends’ Tags also help to establish the identity of the Profile through the content, as well as the locations of the Friends and Photo, when provided.
This query opens the door to Photo search where the first inclination is to scroll through albums. Wouldn’t you rather search with a purpose? You can do this by probing Facebook Graph for the particular Photos you’re interested in. Let’s take a quick look at how Graph structures Photos so that you can define the possible directions your search can take.
The /photos-of/ query (a.k.a. /photos-tagged/) is actually a subset of all Photos taken by a Profile, which is /photos-by/ (a.k.a. /photos-uploaded/). Think of this as the top-level for Photos.
There are several things we do with Photos that we can also place in a query: We can add descriptions, tag locations and Friends, we can Like, Comment and Share them, and we can modify their Dates and privacy settings. So, instead of scrolling through an album to see if anything is relevant, we can create a query to probe for it. For example, we can search for All Photos by the Profile in a Place or Tagged with a Friend. We can search for Photos they Liked or Commented on the timelines of Friends. We can also filter these queries by Dates and by the Keywords located in the Photo descriptions, i.e. All Photos by the Profile in 2010 that referenced “Widgets.”
These queries and filters make it possible to sift through years of Photos faster and with a cause. Your core Photo search options are listed below.
Facebook Photo Options
Queries and filters make it possible to find what’s relevant to you. Would you like to see all Photos taken by a Profile at a particular Place and time? You can do that and drill down even deeper with Facebook Graph, as I’ll illustrate in the sections below. First, here’s how to search with that question:
Photos by a Profile at a Place
Photos by a Profile at a Place during a Date
Recent Photos by a Profile
TIP: Photo queries also work for Videos. Replace “photos” with “videos” in your search string.
2. PHOTOS / POSTS LIKED & COMMENTED
In the previous section, we used /photos-of/ to look for Photos. But what happens when the Profile is set to private? These Profiles can block others from tagging them with privacy settings. However, this doesn’t necessarily block the Comments they place on public Pages and Profiles. This is where Likes and Comments make a great launching point for searching private accounts.
Likes and Comments queries look for interactions on someone else’s timeline. You won’t see these interactions by scrolling through the Profile’s timeline because they take place somewhere else. Keep in mind that what you see is also determined by the privacy settings for both Profiles. Those queries are listed here.
Facebook Likes & Comments Options
/stories-commented/ *no longer supported
Facebook does not deliver these search results in a chronological order. The number of Likes, Comments and Shares influence that. Date filters are easy to add and they’re a great way to sift through years of conversations.
Posts Liked by a Profile that were Dated This Year
Date filters are also helpful if you periodically monitor accounts because you can limit the results to content since your last visit. Just remember that, with any complex search, the query is placed on the left next to Facebook.com/search/str and the filter or refinement is placed on the right. The URL is also closed with /intersect/. Otherwise, Facebook will not understand the question.
Filters are also created with a structure. For Dates, that structure identifies the Object (Photos), and that it has a Date, and what that Date is (Yesterday), i.e. /yesterday/date/photos/.
There are at least 11 Date filters that you can use with Photos and Posts and you’ll find them listed below.
Facebook Date Options
/YEAR/ i.e. 2010
Here’s how you would build the last query for Photos taken within a Date range.
Photos at a Place between Year A and Year B
Would you like to see all Photos Uploaded, Liked and Commented by a Profile in the same search? Try using the /photos-interacted/ string. If you want to view the same interactions by a Page, use the /photos-interested/ string, though it will also work with Profiles. These catch-all queries can bee seen in action below.
Photos Uploaded, Liked and Commented by a Profile that were Dated in 2005
Photos Liked and Commented by a Profile that were Dated in 2005
TIP: To display the list of Profiles that Like a Photo or Post, right click on the hyperlinked Like count and open the link in a new tab. For Posts with a large number of Comments, expand the number of visible Comments by switching to a mobile URL, i.e. replace “www” with “m.”
Switch Post Comments to a Mobile view
3. CHECK-INS / RECENT PLACES
Are locations a key element to your search? If so, Check-in and Place queries are the launching pad for you. Users add Places to their Photos and Posts through Check-ins, which are also known as Visits. Check-ins are actually links to the Facebook Page created for the Business or Place that they’re visiting. Each Page has its own Facebook ID and that enables us to find connections between IDs Photos and Profiles.
To find all places visited by a user, the Check-in query is /places-visited/ a.k.a./places-checked-in/. If the Place is the focus of your search, you’ll use a query t find all people who Checked-in there, i.e. /visitors/. There’s also one query that simply iden