Archive Facebook Messages – JSON to Excel

Facebook Timeline – News Feeds – Wall Posts

In this article, we are going to explain,

  • How to use Facebook OpenGraph API to extract your FB data in JSON format?
  • What is a Facebook OpenGraph Access Token?
  • An intro to JSON

Also there is a sample Excel VBA macro tool that extract your FB Feeds.

Download Excel macro tool to get News Feeds at Desktop

How much busier our days be, we will always find time to brush our teeth and have a cup of coffee in the morning. We’ve grown addicted so much to look into FB Timeline updates. Facebook also have now acquired so-called “regular routine aspect” and all of us are able to squeeze time to have quick peep into Facebook messages and timeline updates.

These things became possible because of the drastic growth trend in the mobile apps development and techies who create apps and games that fights to mesmerize our human brain.

Archive Facebook Messages – Hunt for Best Solution

We are making thousands of conversations in Facebook on daily basis and it is difficult to browse through them for any future reference. Facebook indeed provides an option to archive the message conversation grouped by individual contact name. But if there are plenty of conversations in the thread between you and your friend, you have to scroll to the bottom and find any specific information.

Archiving and Data Retention is a key challenge when it comes to the storage of any form or data. It is common practice to decide upon archiving right from the initial stage of data collection.

OpenGraph API – Just an Intro – Do it Yourself

OpenGraph API is the Facebook language for the developers. Apps use OpenGraph API to read and post to the Facebook social graph. It is a HTTP based API that can be used to query information, write posts, upload photos, etc., from Facebook.

HTTP Request Format

GET <node endpoint> HTTP/1.1
Host:graph.facebook.com

Sample:

  1. GET /me HTTP/1.1 => Retrieves personal information about current logged in Facebook profile like name, birthday, email, gender, hometown, employer, etc.,
  1. GET /me/posts => Retrieves all the posts done by the logged-in Facebook user

Note: OpenGraph API provides SDK under various programming platforms namely PHP, Javascript, iOS and Android.

Getting Facebook Access Token

OpenGraph API also has security measure to avoid unauthorized and trespassing of facebook data. Based on the privacy settings set by the user, requested access to the data would be granted or denied. Access tokens are used to make requests to Facebook APIs on behalf of an app rather than a user. Depending on the type of data request, required permission must be added during the generation of Access Tokens.

For instance, if you need to view the current person’s friend lists (GET /v2.1/me/friendlists HTTP/1.1), a user access token with manage_friendlists permission is required.

You can find more information on the API nodes and fields in the OpenGraph API Reference guide.

OpenGraph API Explorer

Login to Facebook and go to Facebook Developers Page. Under Tools, you can click on Graph API Explorer. Graph API Explorer lets you play around with API nodes and retrieves/posts data in and out of Facebook.

You can generate access token with required permissions under OpenGraph API Explorer.

Let’s see on how to retrieve the current user messages using OpenGraph API Explorer.

GET/v2.1/me/inbox HTTP/1.1
Host: graph.facebook.com

We need to enable read_mailbox permission to view that person’s inbox. Provide the input URL as “me/inbox” after setting the read_mailbox permission under “Get Access Token” option. You will be amazed to see all current user inbox messages displayed in JSON format.

Give Life to JSON Data in Excel

Now we have downloaded several thousands of current user inbox messages in the form of JSON Data. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is used for storing and exchanging the volumes of data.

Though OpenGraph API explorer provides access to these messages, if we need to run various API calls and export them in a neat readable format, it is not the viable solution.

Download this Excel macro tool, to easily format the JSON data in a neat readable form. Once you are able to extract these data to excel, then it is easy to Archive Facebook Messages.

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