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5 Things You Need to Know Before Scraping Data From Facebook

Scraping Data From Facebook

The idea of scraping and collecting data from Facebook appeals to all of us. Facebook is more than a social network, with over 2.85 billion users globally. The social network has diversified and is now a powerful commercial platform, constantly reinventing itself. Consumers make direct connections with brands and engage with their content.

Facebook has a wealth of data that may be used to track trends. Even though Facebook provides an API, information scraping will be limited because the social network has tightened its security to prevent users from obtaining too much data in a short period. Otherwise, your API key could be easily blocked. So, before scraping or before acquiring social media scraping services, here are five points to go through:

Verify Robots.txt. file

You should always verify the robots.txt file before scraping a page. The robots.txt file on a website notifies “bots” whether or not to scrape, crawl, and index the site. By appending “/robots.txt” to the end of the link to your target website, you can acquire access to the file.

Let’s check Facebook’s robots file by going to https://www.facebook.com/robots.txt in your browser. Near the bottom of the paper, you’ll see the following two lines:

‘User-agent’ is a term that refers to the software


Facebook restricts any automated scrapers, according to the lines. That is, an automated crawler should not visit any area of the page.

Why is it necessary to adhere to robots.txt?

The robots file is used by websites to indicate how you or a bot should interact with them. When a website prevents crawlers from accessing it, the best thing to do is ignore it. Following the robot’s file will help you avoid unethical information collection and any legal implications. Better go for data scraping services to obtain data. 


“Crawling Facebook is prohibited unless you have express written authorization,” Facebook warns at the start of their robots file.

Notice: Crawling Facebook is not permitted unless you have received prior written permission.

It is necessary to obtain permission. Visit http://www.facebook.com/apps/site scraping to terms.php for more information.

Check out the second line for a link to Facebook’s Automated information Collection Terms, which were last updated on April 15th, 2010.

The Facebook Automated Data Collection Terms, like any other words and conditions, are long (in abnormally small font size) and full of legal terms that only a few people could properly comprehend.

These terms appear to be very familiar, as we encounter them every time we download a new app for our phone or register for a website.

“By requesting permission to…you agree to…”

“You have agreed not to…”

They may not, however, be the same innocent.

Facebook has money, time, and dedicated legal staff as the social media behemoth. It’s fine if you scrape Facebook without following their Automated Data Collection Terms, but be aware that they have reminded you to seek “written authorization” at the very least. They might be pretty aggressive when it comes to illegal scraping. The one who provides social media scraping services knows all the details from the beginning, so why not ask them for the information.

Still, you’ll be able to scrape data 

If you crawled without respecting the robots.txt file, it doesn’t mean you’ll face legal issues as a result.

Data obtained from social media is perhaps the largest and most dynamic dataset reflecting human behavior and real-world occurrences. Researchers and business specialists from all over the world have been scraping data from Facebook for more than a decade, building representative samples to better understand individuals, groups, and society, as well as discovering brand new opportunities concealed in the data.

Users would agree that the utilization of social data is not necessarily a negative experience. For example, personalizing marketing with social data keeps the internet free and makes the adverts and content we view more relevant.

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are software interfaces that allow users to retrieve large amounts of data via automated techniques. Many businesses now offer a public API that allows customers, academics, and third-party app developers to have access to their infrastructure.

The API shutdown and severe data access limitations imposed by Facebook in an attempt to protect user data are debatable. As a result, they only have one choice.


Learn about GDPR compliance in web scraping before scraping data from Facebook.

On May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR as it is more popularly known, went into effect. It is being hailed as the most significant reform in data privacy regulation in 20 years, with implications ranging from technology to advertising, medicine to banking.

GDPR has the greatest impact on companies and organizations that retain and process significant amounts of consumer data, such as technology companies like Facebook. It used to be that these corporations were solely responsible for enforcing the standards governing the protection of user information. Now, as a result of GDPR, they must ensure that they are fully compliant with the legislation.

The good news is that GDPR only applies to personal data.

“Personal data” refers to information that could be used to identify a specific person, either directly or indirectly. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) refers to information such as a person’s name, physical address, email address, phone number, IP address, date of birth, employment information, and even video/audio recordings.

GDPR does not apply if you are not scraping personal data.

In brief, scraping an EU resident’s data is now unlawful under GDPR unless you have the person’s specific consent. Apart from personal information, you can ask your web & data scraping services provider to scrape other data. 


Although Facebook restricts any automatic crawlers, it is still theoretically possible to scrape data from the site, as previously stated. The issue is —

It’s a risk.

Apart from the legal repercussions, retrieving the needed data becomes more difficult regularly as Facebook blocks suspect IPs and may install even more stringent blocking techniques in the future, making scraping information from the site completely impossible.

As a result, if you want to gather business intelligence and insights about your target market, you should look for more credible sources of social media data.

Wrapping up 

The above-mentioned five things are the most important ones to go through before scraping Facebook data. Instead of taking any risk, you can go for a social media scraping services provider, as they know what to do and how to do it in a legal manner. SmartScrapers is one such place to fulfill all your information needs. 


E-commerce web scraping services are an ideal way for a company to grow its brand. It helps in making informed decisions about the product you sell or buy by analyzing and understanding the target group.
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