Facebook is a database.
Everything that is searchable has an ID attached to it. That can be a photo, a comment, a job title or a page that you like. These IDs are also attached to the object that created it. For example, a photo is attached to an album and that album is attached to the Profile that created it. The photo, album and Profile each have a own unique ID. So, depending on the type of photo you’re looking at, you should see the album and profile IDs associated with it. Facebook refers to these IDs as FBIDs or Facebook IDs. In this article, we’ll be a little more specific and refer to FBIDs by the object they’re tied to.
You can create complex searches with FBIDs.
You probably saw FBIDs in the past when you made searches with Facebook Graph. The FBIDs were in the URLs of your search results. Facebook removed Graph and changed the URL structure in December 2014, but the FBIDs are still there. And, you can still recreate many of those Facebook Graph searches and more, like finding all photos tagged to a Profile or all photos taken in a Place.
Photos tagged to a profile
Photos taken at Dodger Stadium last month
You’ll learn more about Facebook’s URL structure in NetBootCamp’s Facebook class. But, you’re still going to need a PageID or ProfileID to make the search. Photos are a quick way to get there because every Profile and Page has FBIDs assigned to their profile and cover images. And, many users upload photos, so there are plenty of options there.
So, how do you find ProfileIDs with images? In a profile and cover image, the ProfileID appears at the end of the URL attached to the album. You’ll know you’re looking at an AlbumID because it is the number that directly follows the letter “”a” with a period.
For regular photo uploads, the URLs look slightly different. In these instances, you’ll find the ProfileID directly next to the code “pb” for photos or “vb” for videos.
You can verify that you have the correct ProfileID by placing it in a URL directly next to Facebook.com or FB.com like this.
Image URLs can be daunting to look at. Scrolling through images in an album can be a quick way to find IDs because the AlbumID and ProfileID will be static. The IDs for each photo will change as you scroll.
There are also options for when the profile doesn’t have images or the photo URLs aren’t so clear. In these instances, try copying the URL from the User’s timeline and search it on Lookup-id.com. It works for most pages. Also, if you don’t see the URL for a photo, don’t worry. Facebook uses lots of caching and you may just need to reload the page or you can try the HTML method listed below.
Now that you have the ProfileID, let’s compose some searches. Test your skills through the NetBootCamp Facebook Search tool. It’s free.
Additional photo tips
FBIDs can also be used to reverse engineer an image URL to find a user. Sometimes website operators host images on platforms like Facebook and Google Blogspot to take advantage of their fast loading CDNs. It helps their websites load faster. Those URLs can look like this.
You can right click on a photo to copy to view URLs like these.
The third set of numbers in thesrURLs identify the album where it was originally uploaded by the user. You won’t see the users ID in this URL, but you should see the FBID assigned to their profile image. Profile and Cover images are always public. You can view the Profile image by copying the third set of numbers from the CDN URL to a Facebook URL like this:
And, what happens when the users deletes a photo? In our tests, deleting an image did not remove it from Facebook’s CDN for a couple days. Of course, the role of CDNs is to cache objects.
Finding Facebook IDs with HTML
HTML is another place to Facebook IDs, though what you can see changes on a regular basis.
To view the HTML, enter Ctrl+U or select “View Source code” on your browser while on the timeline of a Profile, Page, Group or Event. Use Ctrl+F to search the HTML for Profile images using “profilePicThumb” or for Android URLs using “fb://”. Both contain the ID.