Best Facebook Group Scraper – How To Scrape Facebook with Python

Are you looking for a safe way to scrape Facebook of its vast library of images, comments, posts, videos, or any types of user-generated content or user profiles? 

In that case, this guide is all you need to use the best Facebook scraper in the market safely.

Facebook has one of the largest databases of user-generated content on the internet. This is one platform many businesses have hinged their business success and growth because the data obtained from this platform are a great pointer to audience intent. 

The Facebook database, including its post and comments, can be used to carry out sentimental and investigative analysis by a researcher so that users or groups of users’ intent can better be analyzed.

However, it is not always that easy to get the exact data you need for a specialized purpose because Facebook provides users uniquely generated APIs to collect users’ profiles and user-generated content on their platform. 

Nevertheless, the API from Facebook is a bit limiting and restrictive as most of the data you needed from the Facebook platform is almost of no use for the exact thing you need them for. 

The only option available to successfully use these data is to find a data scraping tool that can help you scrap Facebook correctly. You can easily create a Facebook scraper for yourself if you have some coding experience; otherwise, there are already made scrapping tools on the internet that you can make use of.

Before getting our hands wet with the listings of the best Facebook scrappers available on the market, lets us first understand some basics of what a Facebook sapper is:

Facebook Scraping – The Basics

Facebook is an online community of different kinds of people from various works of life. It’s a big company with massive financial muscles to employ thousands of staff to become watchdogs and prevent spam on their platform. 

The thing is, Facebook scraping is one of the most challenging tasks if you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re not doing the scrapping the right way. The fact is, many people who are web scrappers give up after many failed attempts on scraping Facebook. 

This is because Facebook is specially built with a strong and sensitive anti-bot system, much more than just IP tracking. This is why Facebook has suffered some backlashes from users who needed to analyze essential user data on its platform.

Facebook Scraper

Because of the backlashes, Facebook has re-engineered its anti-bot system to become more stringent so that scrapers and crawlers can be prevented from scraping the sites. This is why scraping facebook of its database at a reasonable scale is quite a difficult and expensive task to embark on. 

And sometimes, even when you are successful with the data scraping (except you’re lucky), the Facebook legal team will sue you for all you’re worth, including throwing you to jail depending on what you use the data on their site for. 

However, the huge database of users profiles and user-generated content is too tempting that even with the risk of being thrown in jail is obvious, businesses and researchers are still scraping Facebook undetected. 

So if you’re interested in scraping facebook without getting noticed by its watchdogs, then you need to keep reading this post.

Use Python, Requests, and BeautifulSoup To Scrape Facebook

Its quite evident that the task to scrap Facebook is quite a bit difficult because, if, for example, you need to scrape any website data at a reasonable scale, its a good idea to use some proxies. So that anti-spam features will not be able to notice your scrapings. 

However, there is more to understand with Facebook scraping because you need to know that the Facebook platform is coded on Javascript. Meaning that using the duo of Requests and BeautifulSoup will not solve it, and so you might think the use of Selenium to render and execute Javascripts will help…

However, while Selenium can be of good help to render Javascripts, it can be counterproductive. 

The reason is that Facebook uses Javascript (JS) for users’ behavioral and fingerprinting analyses, which helps them to know if requests are being generated by a bot, which eventually will get your access to the platform blocked after a few requests. 

Except you can come up with a genius way around this, which is quite impossible, then you should forget the use of Selenium and ditch the JS rendering.

What to do?

If you’re trying to access Facebook after you must have disabled the Javascript on your browser, when you log in, you will see a pop up telling you that Facebook does not work correctly without the JS enabled. 

This is because they need these features to track your activities on their platform. So, if you use the old mobile web version of Facebook (https://mobile.facebook.com), this does not require JS, and as such, you scrape this website without any problem or any limitation instead of scraping the web version of Facebook.

Facebook Scraping Using JavaScript.

Below is a Python code you can use to scrape textual data content from Facebook Groups. It’s so basic, and it won’t scrape images, videos, including the post author’s name – only the texts. 

Also, you don’t need proxies for this code to work. It only required a request for it to work by downloading the page and using Beautifulsoup for parsing. But if you are working on a reasonable project, your proxies, exception handling, and pagination will need to come handy.

Before the command code below will work, you will need to install Requests and BeautifulSoup. If you haven’t done so, you can use the pip install requests to install Requests and pip for installing BeautifulSoup. The group you want to scrap can be changed, and the group’s texts will be scrapped.

import requests

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

class FBGroupScraper:

    def __init__(self, group_id):

        self.group_id = group_id

        self.page_url = “https://mobile.facebook.com/groups/” + self.group_id

        self.page_content = “”

    def get_page_content(self):

        self.page_content = requests.get(self.page_url).text

    def parse(self):

        soup = BeautifulSoup(self.page_content, “html.parser”)

        feed_container = soup.find(id=”m_group_stories_container”).find_all(“p”)

        for i in feed_container:

            print(i.text)

group_id = “1463546523692520”

d = FBGroupScraper(group_id)

d.get_page_content()

d.parse()

Best Facebook Scrapers 2020

Suppose you are not good at coding a script. In that case, you might find it easy to outsource your Facebook scraping tasks to a more experienced developer to help you to develop an in-house Facebook scraper that will evade blocks. 

And if you think these developers are a bit expensive (because some are pretty expensive to employ), you can opt for the already-made Facebook scrapers in the market. 

While some come free of charge (not 100% efficient and are restrictive in some ways), using the paid Facebook scrapper is the best because the developer is financially compensated and will make sure the scraper works flawlessly in most cases.

Below are some of the best Facebook scrappers in the market.

Octoparse

The Octopas has a monthly payment plan of $75 but you can always try out their 14 day free trial subscription. The Trial subscription comes with some limitations as to what it can achieve and the result you can get. The tool is coded in a way that its output data format comes in various types including Excel, CSV, MYSQL, JSON and SQLServer. It can be used on desktop PCs and it also supports Cloud based platforms.

This is one of the very best web scrapers available on the market presently. This scraper is ideal for every type of web scraping, including scrapping the Facebook site. This tool also has an in-built facebook scraping template, which makes scraping data from Facebook easy to do without building a scape profile from scratch.

Octoparse is a fast, efficient, and reliable scaping tool to have around and is available as both a cloud-based and an installable desktop application. The Octoparse tool is a paid tool but comes with a free trial option, but the Facebook scrapping template is not enabled for the trial option plan.

ScrapeStorm

The Scrapestorm has a monthly payment plan of $49.99 but you can always try out their free trial subscription. The free limited starter plan subscription is ideal if you just want to test out the service. The tool is coded in a way that its output data format comes in various types including the Excel, CSV, MYSQL, JSON Google Sheet, and TXT. It can be used on desktop based platforms only.

This tool is not specially built to scrape Facebook data. However, when it comes to scraping data from Facebook, Scrapestorm is arguably one of the best Facebook scrappers you can have right now. 

The tool is convenient and comes with a visual and click interface to train the tool on what sorts of data to scrape.

One thing that separates Scrapestorm from other scrapping tools, especially when scraping user-generated data from Facebook, is its intelligent data recognition feature.

 Because an ex-Google crawler team codes this tool, this tool can avoid the anti-spam filter system in place by the big giants like Google and Facebook.

Phantom Buster

The Phantom Buster has a monthly payment plan of $30 and can only be used for just 1 hour per day. The 14-day free trial has limitations as you only have 10 minutes of testing every day. The tool is coded in a way that its output data format comes in 3 formats including Excel, CSV, JSON. And its supported by Windows, Mac and Linux OS.

This company focuses on automation tools for automating social media platforms and scraping data off these platforms. The Facebook Group Extractor is specially developed to scrape Facebook with support for scraping user-generated content in Facebook groups and communities.

This tool helps you scrape users’ Facebook group profiles and scrape the group’s comments. Like the tools mentioned above, the Facebook Group Extractor also comes as a paid tool with a 14-day free trial to test out how efficient the service is. The Phantom Buster provides this tool as a cloud-based platform for users looking to decongest their hardware of additional software.

Proxycrawl Facebook Scraper

The Proxycrawl  Facebook Scraper has a monthly payment plan of $29 with 50,000 credits. The tool offers a free trial of the first 1000 requests. The tool is coded in a way that its output data format comes in just 1 format – JSON. And its A Cloud based program that can only be accessed through an API

Proxycrawl provides a uniquely developed facebook scraper and is far ahead of its competitors when it comes to web scraping or specifically Facebook scraping. The tools are made as an installable software or a cloud-based platform, making this Facebook scraper a scraping API.

It works as a RESTFUL API – it can easily be incorporated in code and use the returned/scraped data immediately because it is specially built for developers. This tool helps you to extract data from Facebook groups, including extracting contents on Facebook group feeds – all these with just a simple HTTP request. 

Apify Facebook Page Scraper

The Apify Facebook Page Scraper has a monthly payment plan of $49. The tool offers a free trial for a starter plan with 10 Actor compute units. The tool is coded in a way that its output data format comes in just 1 format – JSON. And it’s A Cloud based program that can only be accessed through an API

Apify is a popular web scraping tool service provider that hosts many different web scraping tools for different web scraping tasks aside from his in-house specially coded tool. One of these tools is the Facebook Pages Scraper, which is developed so that users can be able to use it to extract public profile pages from Facebook – It can also extract posts, reviews, and comments.

It can be accessed as an API, just like the proxycrawl. It is relatively easy to use and only requires you to send HTTP requests to its endpoints, and you get a response as JSON objects.

Conclusion

If you have been doing Facebook scraping before or this is your first time, the fact remains that Facebook scraping is a complicated task to perform and requires a great deal of intelligence, proper planning, and implementation to make it successful. 

Suppose you cannot successfully build your private Facebook scaper or feel free options on the internet are not as efficient as you will want them to be. In that case, the best option is to use the already made Facebook scrapers mentioned above because these have been tested and have proven to get you the best results.

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