Facebook’s Open Graph can be used as a valuable business intelligence tool.
Here’s how easy it can be to find out more about the people powering social media on your favorite sites.
How It Works
The Open Graph is populated with meta tags. One of these tags is fb:admins which is a list of Facebook user IDs.
Here we are on a Time article that is clearly using the Open Graph.
The fb:admins tag is generally found on the home page (or root) of a site because that’s one of the ways you grant people access to Insights for Websites.
You could open up a new tab and go to the Facebook Linter Tool to enter the domain or you can use my handy Bookmarklet that gives you one-click access to Lint that site.
Drag the link above to your bookmark bar and then click on it anytime you want to get information about the Open Graph mark-up from that site’s home page.
The results will often include a list of Facebook IDs. In this instance there are 8 administrators on the Time domain.
Click on each ID to learn as much as that person’s privacy settings will allow. You can find out quite a bit when you do this.
In this instance I’ve identified Time’s Technical Lead, a Senior Program Manager (with a balloon decorating company on the side), a bogus test account (against Facebook rules) and the Program Manager, Developer Relations for … Facebook.
I guess it makes sense that Time would get some special attention from Facebook. Still, it raised my eyebrows to see a Facebook staffer as a Time administrator.
Cat actually snagged ‘cat’ as her Facebook name (nicely done!) and says her favorite football team is the Eagles. I might be able to strike up a conversation with her about that. Go Eagles!
I’d probably also ask her why a fake test account is being used by Time.
That is unless Time really does have a satanic handball enthusiast on staff.
Sometimes a site won’t use fb:admins but will authenticate using fb:app_id instead. But that doesn’t mean your sleuthing has come to an end. Click on the App ID number and you’ll usually go to that application.
By clicking on Info I’m able to view a list of Developers. Some of these I’ve already seen via fb:admins but two of them are actually new, providing a more robust picture of Time’s social media efforts and resources.
You’ll only be stymied if the site is using fb:page_id to authenticate. That’s generally a dead end for business intelligence.
Open Graph Business Intelligence
I imagine this type of information might be of interest to a wide variety or people from recruiters to journalists to sales and business development professionals. You could use this technique on its own or collect the names and use LinkedIn and Google to create a more accurate picture of those individuals.
How would you use this information?