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Facebook History Collector: A New Method for Directly Collecting Data from Facebook

Facebook History Collector: A New Method for Directly Collecting Data from Facebook
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Author(s): Rosanna E. Guadagno (National Science Foundation, Arlington VA, USA), Tonio A. Loewald (Loewald New Media, Arlington VA, USA), Nicole L. Muscanell (The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA), Joan M. Barth (The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA), Melissa K. Goodwin (The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA) and Yang Yang (The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Volume: 3
Issue: 1
Pages: 11
Source title: International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Melda N Yildiz (New York Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicst.2013010105

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Abstract

Social networking sites are a rich source of untapped data. While much research has focused on Facebook and other social networks, less has done so by collecting information straight from the source. The purpose of this paper is to present a new and innovative means of gathering raw data from Facebook via a software program the authors call the Facebook History Collector. Initially developed to study Facebook activity in the wake of a destructive tornado that occurred in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011, this tool allows for retrieving massive amounts of text, photographs, and videos directly from Facebook during a period of time set by the researcher. In this article, the authors argue that the new method has broad implications for use within the research community as it allows capturing real-time social media interactions. The process of software development, data collection, technical details, and ethical considerations are discussed.

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