User-Post Network Based on Shares

Apr 12, 2013 at 9:21 PM
I want to try to modify the Social Network Importer to enable importing data for a User-Post Network based on Shares. Based on the research I've done lately, it seems difficult. Perhaps impossible. So I can understand why it's not included already in the Importer. However, I'd like to try to get whatever crumbs of data are available.

I was playing with the Facebook Graph API Explorer and found that Shares are available for Status updates on Fan Pages. For example, this link should open a list of Shares on a particular Walmart status update:

So, that data is out there, but I'm not quite sure how to get it. I see in the source code for the Importer that FQL queries are executed to retrieve data. However, I can't figure out a query to return the "sharedposts" field I found. Maybe it's not possible with FQL. Is it possible to query the Graph API like in the example link above using the FacebookAPI referenced in the project? Or maybe another way?

Apr 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM
Well, it's pretty obvious that I'm very new to Facebook development. I didn't realize how easy it was to query the Graph API. I figured out I can get the shared posts directly with a URL like so: So I'll use that in lieu of an FQL query and parse the returned JSON myself.
Apr 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM
Hello Tom,

it seems like there is no way to get the shared posts through FQL. As I can see you can only get the share_count from the stream table. Going with Graph API is the best choice.

We think this is a good suggestion so maybe we can include this new type of network in the next release.


Oct 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Colleagues tell me, please, how to get now the network user-post based on the shares? To do this I need to use a check mark "Get status updates"?

Oct 19, 2013 at 3:07 AM

I was researching how to get user-post shares back in April. I don't know if anything has changed since then, but I'll tell you what I know. As far as I know, the ability to download a user-post network based on shares is not possible with the Social Network Importer for NodeXL. I was working on modifying the code to make that possible, but I abandoned the effort after discovering Facebook doesn't offer full access to the shares.

I found that Facebook's posts fall into two different data types: Status or Post. A Status is a text-only message posted by someone on their own wall as a status update. A Post can consist of a mix of text/images/links and can appear as a status update or as a comment. Unfortunately, the Facebook API does not allow us to get shares for Posts. Shares are only accessible for Statuses. So you miss out on a lot of shares, because it seems there are a lot more Posts that get shared.

If you do want to get the Status shares, those are further reduced by user security settings. Facebook will only give you the shares for people that haven't locked down access to their activity through their privacy settings. And there actually are quite a lot of people who do that. In the data I was looking at, I found about 65% of the people had privacy settings that filtered out their shares from the results I queried. Although, don't quote me on that number. I had a very small sample of data that probably doesn't generalize all that well.

Even beyond that there was an additional mystery reason that was reducing my data that I couldn't explain. So, there's at least 3 filters on the Shares. 1. Status vs. Post. 2. Privacy settings. 3. The mystery reason I never figured out. After all that I figured I wasn't getting enough Share data to get useful results for what I was working on. So I gave up on trying to get Shares.

That was in April. Maybe something has changed since then, but I don't know. At least being able to get both Status and Post shares from the API would be great. But I haven't looked into it. I figured I'd share what I did discover though.

Good Luck,
Oct 19, 2013 at 7:18 AM
Hi, Tom!
Thank you very much for your detailed answer!
We shall seek still variants :)