I Want to Query Facebook

30 Jan 2008

Facebook DevelopersBut I can’t. Let me explain.

Facebook offers a developer API that allows programmers to use the data stored by Facebook. One of the neat features is called “Facebook Query Language,” and allows you to execute queries on the data provided by Facebook, as if it were a giant database (oh, wait, it is). Earlier this afternoon I was wishing I could gather a list of all my friends and their website URLs (if any). Since many of my friends are on Facebook, I figured that Facebook would be a great place to start. But who wants to click through 600+ Facebook profiles copying down website addresses??? Not I … but that does sound like a great task for your average computer program, right?

Since the normal Facebook interface does not allow you to perform “report” style searches on your friend list, I jumped over to the developer docs. Sure enough, the query language can retrieve all sorts of cool information through the API – but not a friend’s website! In fact, no contact information is available through the API (I’m assuming this is for security purposes). Unfortunately this means that my nifty idea is moot… no automatically updating phone book, list of friend urls, etc is possible.

I’m sad.