Investigators and law enforcement make social media a standard tactic to quickly enumerate associates, suspects and persons of interest by working from someone’s Facebook page. Although a simple keyword search will yield many ways to export your own friends list out of Facebook, but few tools out there can extract someone else’s friends list in an automated fashion. Sure you can tediously copy and paste page after page of someone’s 1000 friends, but with that list, you can’t tell who’s a casual friend from who’s a close friend or family.
There is a better alternative out there, and it is the Web Identity Search Tool. It makes it easy to systematically extract friends’ lists from other people’s profiles. Given the fact that many users are concerned about privacy, many Facebook users might have their friends’ list set to “Friends Only” which prevents the investigator and any non-friended user from viewing the friends list. That being said, there are techniques that can indirectly unlock a Facebook user’s “Friends Only” friends list using WIST. The output of this result can easily be exported to Excel and further analyzed, as shown below.
How does it work? Is there a secret back-door or security hole that WIST is exploiting? Absolutely not: WIST is doing exactly what a manual Facebook search and extraction would do, only much faster.
Other than exporting friends, WIST makes several investigative tasks on Facebook much easier:
- Detecting Duplicate Facebook accounts
- Extracting a Facebook user’s complete Timeline
- Unlock Friends List and group common last names
- Identifying full last name given just the initial
But if you’re already convinced there’s a better way to investigate Facebook than just manually drudging through pages, Sign up for WIST today!