Who does Facebook think you are searching for?
If you are coder / programmer and can make the data file you get from Facebook display a more user friendly view of their friends and First Degree Index rankings let me know! I’ll be messing with it the next few days to get it working as well. If this is properly working you’ll be able to see which friend’s Facebook is putting prominence to in your Facebook News Feed, associated rankings, values and tokens they have attached to them. This is a complete reverse engineering of Facebook’s feed algorithm. Very interesting stuff!
Latest UPDATE (easiest way to get this data):
First you need to get your Facebook Numeric ID. You can do that by visiting link #1 below. You’ll need your vanity name for Facebook. The next thing you’ll do is use link #2 to enter in your ID # into the URL to pull your entire First Degree relationships in order. There is a possibility that the output will give you an error because your Facebook is being accessed with HTTPS, if you see https://www.facebook.com then you’ll need to change your Secure Settings in Facebook. To do this go to this link and disable secure browsing: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security
Once you have your Facebook Data file you will have a lot of strings of data, the order of the people are the people that Facebook thinks you stalk the most. Each person is given an Index Ranking Number. Typically you have a very strong connection and stalk people that are in the NEGATIVE index numbering. For instance a -14.5230519 would be an incredibly high stalking rating. My high ones start at -1 and go from there. The higher the positive number the less of a First Degree’s connection that person and you have.
If you look beside people’s names they’ll have a field called tokens. If you take any of these words and put them in Facebook search it will bring up their Facebook profile.
My next task is to find something that will clean up this data for your easily and make it more readable in a pretty way.
Below is the original article & comments:
Have you ever wondered how Facebook orders your search results? Clearly they have some ordering about who they think you are looking for, and they seem to guess pretty well. I can only guess, but it seems like they order it based on who you interact with, whose profile you look at and who you have recently become friends with.
Well Facebook gives explicit numbers to the directed edges (connection going from you to your friend), about how much they think you are looking for this person. I wrote a bookmarklet that makes it easy to see this list. Although you already know who you look at most, it is eerie to see the list they have come up with—and the numbers they give. The more negative the number, the more Facebook thinks you are looking for them.
To try it out, just drag the image here up to your browser’s bookmark bar. Then go to Facebook and click the bookmarklet. More explanation below.
Note: This is really interesting, but may be embarrassing to you.
Try dragging this link if the image doesn’t work for you.
(Note: If you have https on, it won’t work. You can disable it temporarily by going to Account Settings/Security/Secure Browsing.)
How We Discovered this Link
We were working on our autocomplete search for the website we are building this summer called raunk.com and we were wondering why our autocomplete was so slow. If we typed fast, we could type faster than the results would show up. I thought, “Maybe I just type really fast, faster than the results can load.” We then checked Facebook. If we typed faster than Facebook autocomplete then it had to be okay. Well we started typing, and no matter how fast we typed, they already had results showing up.
How did they do this? Were their servers just that much faster than ours? (They are that much faster than ours.) But what turned out to be the difference was this file that they were preloading called first_degree.php. If you open up the Network panel in the Chrome Inspector or Firebug, you can see this file being requested asynchronously. Select XHR to only see AJAX requests.
Well in this file there is a lot of great information. It’s just JSON. There are probably two files, one which loads your first degree friends, and one which loads your “first degree” pages and events. Well if you open up the JSON file you will see, an ordered list of who Facebook thinks you are looking for.
Basically, you will find a list which is mostly who Facebook thinks you are Facebook stalking. And if you expand the entry you will see a field called ‘index’. ‘index’ is the number they give to that edge. The lower the number the earlier they show up on your search results.
And this stuff is all client-side, so it is all visible to you, and most likely will be for quite some time. This list is surprisingly interesting to check every now and then, and it will make you wonder how their algorithm is working and how those people go there.
Other Interesting Parts of this File
If you look a little more at this file you will find lots of other interesting information. There is an optional field that shows up in some results called ‘tokens’. This ‘tokens’ field stores common aliases to your friend’s name. For example, I have a friend named Michael, and his tokens says ‘mike’. My brothers is named Zach, but his tokens says ‘Brother’. Under Daniel it has ‘dan danny’. So look through the tokens, and find a friend who has a token that is not all close to his or her name. If you search it, you’ll notice that your friend will come up. That’s how it works. These are just common aliases for the name–not ones specific to your friend.
How the Bookmarlet Works
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