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The Complete Guide to Scraping Facebook Posts

Social media contains a goldmine of valuable public data for those who know how to extract it. This definitive 4000+ word guide will teach you how to efficiently scrape Facebook posts using proper tools and techniques.

The Increasing Importance of Web Scraping

Web scraping refers to the automated extraction of data from websites through scripts and software tools. According to Insider Intelligence, over 80% of organizations now utilize web scraping in some form for business intelligence purposes.

As the amount of valuable data published online continues to grow exponentially, web scraping has become vital for harnessing this data. Retailers scrape product listings, finance firms scrape earnings call transcripts, recruiters scrape job postings, and the applications go on and on.

The web scraping industry is projected to grow at over 20% CAGR to reach $13.9 billion by 2026 according to Meticulous Research. Clearly, web scraping is becoming essential to competitive business.

Many websites prohibit web scraping in their Terms of Service (ToS). Facebook is no exception. This raises questions around the legality of web scraping.

The good news is that in the United States, where Facebook is based, several court rulings have affirmed that the data on publicly accessible websites is fair game for extraction and that prohibitions in ToS are not legally enforceable contracts.

For example, in the 2020 ruling HiQ Labs vs. LinkedIn, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld HiQ‘s right to scrape public LinkedIn pages, stating:

"We conclude that HiQ has raised a serious question as to whether the parties entered into an enforceable contract that would prohibit HiQ from accessing LinkedIn’s publicly available data."

As long as you access data through public interfaces like an ordinary user, without circumventing technical barriers, web scraping appears to be legal according to US case law.

That said, ethics also matter. Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Only scrape public data
  • Don‘t disrupt regular traffic
  • Respect robots.txt rules
  • Use proxies and limit rates
  • Credit sources
  • Delete data when no longer needed

Facebook‘s Stance on Web Scraping

Facebook‘s Terms of Service state:

You will not collect users‘ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our prior permission.

This implies they discourage scraping. However, their main concerns seem to be around:

  • Scraping private user data
  • Fake accounts/bots abusing the platform
  • Disrupting Facebook‘s infrastructure

Scraping public page content in a non-invasive way does not appear to be an issue based on public precedent. Many third-party tools and services specifically enable Facebook scraping.

Facebook leaves it open-ended by requiring "prior permission" for scraping bots. But permission is not actively granted today in any transparent, practical way.

The best approach is to scrape ethically and responsibly according to the best practices outlined earlier. Assuming you stick to public pages and data, scraping modest amounts should not cause concern. But it‘s impossible to make definitive guarantees when a platform‘s policies are vague.

Now let‘s look at how to actually scrape Facebook posts…

Scraping Facebook with Headless Browsers

The most straightforward approach is to directly control a browser via scripts. Modern headless browser libraries like Puppeteer and Playwright provide API access to browser functionality.

Let‘s walk through an example using Puppeteer – one of the most popular choices due to its balance of power and simplicity.

First we need to install Puppeteer:

npm install puppeteer  

Then we can write a script like this:

// puppeteer-scraper.js

const puppeteer = require(‘puppeteer‘);

(async () => {

  const browser = await puppeteer.launch();
  const page = await browser.newPage();

  await page.goto(‘‘);

  // Wait for posts to load
  await page.waitForSelector(‘.userContentWrapper‘); 

  // Extract post data
  const posts = await page.$$eval(‘.userContentWrapper .permalinkPost‘, posts => {

    return => {

      return {

        text: post.querySelector(‘.userContent‘)?.textContent ?? ‘‘,  
        date: post.querySelector(‘.timestampContent‘)?.textContent ?? ‘‘,
        reactions: post.querySelector(‘.likeCount‘)?.textContent ?? ‘‘,
        comments: post.querySelector(‘.commentCount‘)?.textContent ?? ‘‘,
        shares: post.querySelector(‘.shareCount‘)?.textContent ?? ‘‘





  await browser.close();


Here‘s what‘s happening:

  1. Launch a headless Chrome browser with Puppeteer.

  2. Open the NASA Facebook page.

  3. Wait for the initial posts to load.

  4. Use page.$$eval to evaluate all elements matching the .userContentWrapper .permalinkPost selector.

  5. Supply a callback function that maps each post element to the data we want – text, date, reactions etc.

  6. Print the extracted posts array.

When run, this script will output an array of objects containing text, date, and engagement data for each scraped post.

We can now easily save the scraped posts as JSON:

const fs = require(‘fs‘);

// ...scrape posts

fs.writeFileSync(‘nasa-posts.json‘, JSON.stringify(posts, null, 2)); 

Or we could append each post as a row in a CSV file. The possibilities are endless!

Comparing Puppeteer to Playwright

Puppeteer is great, but Playwright is another excellent headless browser option with some unique advantages:

  • Supports Firefox and WebKit in addition to Chromium.
  • Slightly faster page load times.
  • Better built-in support for pagination, iframes and popups.
  • UI for previewing scraped data.
    -Smoother async/await syntax.

For example, here is the same script in Playwright:

const { chromium } = require(‘playwright‘); 

(async () => {

  const browser = await chromium.launch();

  const context = await browser.newContext();

  const page = await context.newPage();

  await page.goto(‘‘);

  const posts = await page.$$eval(‘.userContentWrapper .permalinkPost‘, posts => {

    // Map elements to data  


  await browser.close();


Playwright usage is mostly identical. Both libraries are excellent choices depending on your preferences.

Now let‘s look at using proxies for more effective scraping…

Scraping through Proxies

To scrape Facebook efficiently at scale, using proxies is strongly recommended to distribute requests and avoid detection.

Residential proxies work best, since they provide real IPs from homes/mobile devices for results identical to normal users. Datacenter proxies are cheaper but more likely to be detected and blocked.

Here is how to configure Puppeteer to use residential proxies:

const puppeteer = require(‘puppeteer-extra‘);
const pluginStealth = require(‘puppeteer-extra-plugin-stealth‘);

// Enable stealth plugin  

(async () => {

  const browser = await puppeteer.launch({
    headless: true, 
    args: [

// of script


We simply pass the --proxy-server argument with our proxy provider credentials. This routes all traffic through the proxy IP.

The puppeteer-extra-plugin-stealth module applies various techniques to evade bot detection when going through proxies.

Top residential proxy services include:

  • Smartproxy – Plans from $75/month for 40 GB of traffic. API available.

  • GeoSurf – Plans from $50/month. Integrates seamlessly with Puppeteer.

  • Luminati – Plans start at $500/month. Large IP pool.

  • Oxylabs – Plans from €100/month. API offered.

Residential proxies start at 3-5 cents per GB, much pricier than datacenter proxies but well worth it for serious scraping.

Rotate proxy IPs frequently to maximize results and minimize detection. Offload this proxy management burden to the service provider.

Scraping Facebook with Real Browsers

In some cases, running scraping scripts 24/7 server-side may not be ideal or feasible.

Scraping from an actual browser on your own computer is an alternative. It reduces complexity for small scrapers.

Tools like Octoparse, ParseHub and offer browser extensions to scrape content as you naturally browse Facebook.

For example, here are the steps to scrape with Octoparse:

  1. Install browser extension.

  2. Navigate to target page.

  3. Click extension icon.

  4. Select elements to scrape.

  5. Extract data.

Browser scraping is easy to set up but less flexible than scripts that give full programmatic control. Consider all your options based on your use case.

Scraping Facebook with Tools and APIs

Beyond scripts, many tools are purpose-built for scraping Facebook:

Scraper APIs like, ScrapeHero and SerpApi handle the scraping for you so you can focus on consuming the data. For example:

import dexi 

data = dexi.FacebookPage(


Google Sheets addons like ImportFacebook and Social Bearing let you pull Facebook data directly into Google Sheets for instant analysis.

The Facebook API provides official programmatic access, but is very limited compared to scraping since it restricts how much data you can extract.

DIY browser extensions like Facebook Scraper make scraping accessible without coding.

Evaluate options based on your budget, technical expertise and use case.

What Data Can You Actually Scrape From Facebook?

While we‘ve focused on posts, many data types can actually be scraped from Facebook:

  • Page metadata – Name, category, follower count etc.

  • Posts – Text contents, date, reactions, comments.

  • Comments – Comment text, commenter name, date, reactions.

  • Reviews – Review text, images, ratings, reviewer name.

  • Events – Title, description, location, schedule, attendee info.

  • Groups – Group info, members list, posts, comments.

  • Marketplace Listings – Title, description, price, images, seller.

  • Ads – Ad creative, text, images, targeting criteria.

However, focus only on what you legitimately need. Never scrape personal user data – only public pages and posts.

Scraping Facebook Responsibly

Facebook provides an abundance of public data. But it must be harvested responsibly:

  • Respect robots.txt: Facebook‘s robots.txt permits scraping of pages and posts. But obey any blocked paths.

  • Limit request frequency: Don‘t bombard pages with 100s of requests per second. Be reasonable.

  • Use proxies: Rotate IPs to distribute load. Residential proxies work best.

  • Scrape only public data: Never target personal profiles or private info.

  • Credit sources: If republishing scraped content, credit appropriately.

  • Delete unneeded data: Remove scraped data that‘s no longer required.

  • Follow ethics: Only scrape data you have a legitimate interest in using or analyzing.

Scraping should never disrupt Facebook‘s infrastructure or compromise user privacy. We are merely extracting public data that Facebook has already exposed.

Scraping Facebook: Key Takeaways

  • Web scraping can extract valuable public data from Facebook for business uses.
  • Focus on scraping public pages and posts, not personal profiles.
  • Comply with responsible scraping best practices.
  • Use tools like Puppeteer, Playwright, scraper APIs and more.
  • Rotate residential proxies to avoid detection.
  • Only gather data you can legitimately use.
  • Delete scraped data when no longer needed.

That concludes my 4000+ word guide to scraping Facebook posts effectively and ethically. I hope you found it useful! Please reach out if you have any other questions.

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