Fun with Facebook APIs

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Screenshot: CNNMoney

For Dave’s story about the information your Facebook ID makes publicly available, we’ve been banging on the site’s APIs. Want to play along?

First, you’ll need your ID. Every Facebook user is assigned a unique identifying number or username. Facebook displays those in the URL for each user profile.

Pull up your own profile. If you see a URL that looks like this: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=######## then copy the numbers. If you see a URL that looks like this: http://www.facebook.com/xxxxxxxxxxx, copy everything after “.com/” — that’s your Facebook ID.

Next, go to https://graph.facebook.com/YourUsername or https://graph.facebook.com/YourIDNumber.

For example, to query me you can go to https://graph.facebook.com/stacycowley or https://graph.facebook.com/668738383

You can run that query on any registered Facebook user and get their ID and some of their basic, public information. The result will look like the image above.

What’s the point of this? You don’t have to be someone’s “friend” to get these results. The data is available on any registered user, to anyone who queries the API for it. That’s intentional: The data is public, and developers have lots of legitimate reasons for grabbing it. But data miners can also grab it — without your permission or knowledge. -Stacy

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