First and foremost: if you want to cut to the chase, just download the torrent. If you want the full story, please read on….
Way back when I worked at Symantec, my friend Nick wrote a blog that caused a little bit of trouble for us: Attack of the Facebook Snatchers. I was blog editor at the time, and I went through the usual sign off process and, eventually, published it. Facebook was none too happy, but we fought for it and, in the end, we got to leave the blog up in its original form.
Why do I bring this up? Well last week @FSLabsAdvisor wrote an interesting Tweet: it turns out, by heading to https://www.facebook.com/directory, you can get a list of every searchable user on all of Facebook!
My first idea was simple: spider the lists, generate first-initial-last-name (and similar) lists, then hand them over to @Ithilgore to use in Nmap’s awesome new bruteforce tool he’s working on, Ncrack. But as I thought more about it, and talked to other people, I realized that this is a scary privacy issue. I can find the name of pretty much every person on Facebook. Facebook helpfully informs you that “[a]nyone can opt out of appearing here by changing their Search privacy settings” – but that doesn’t help much anymore considering I already have them all (and you will too, when you download the torrent). Suckers!
Once I have the name and URL of a user, I can view, by default, their picture, friends, information about them, and some other details. If the user has set their privacy higher, at the very least I can view their name and picture. So, if any searchable user has friends that are non-searchable, those friends just opted into being searched, like it or not! Oops :)
Which brings me to the next topic: the list! I wrote a quick Ruby script (which has since become a more involved Nmap Script that I haven’t used for harvesting yet) that I used to download the full directory. I should warn you that it isn’t exactly the most user friendly interface – I wrote it for myself, primarily, I’m only linking to it for reference. I don’t really suggest you try to recreate my spidering. It’s a waste of several hundred gigs of bandwidth.
The results were spectacular. 171 million names (100 million unique). My original plan was to use this list to generate a list of the top usernames (based on first initial last name):
129369 jsmith 79365 ssmith 77713 skhan 75561 msmith 74575 skumar 72467 csmith 71791 asmith 67786 jjohnson 66693 dsmith 66431 akhan
100225 johns 97676 johnm 97310 michaelm 93386 michaels 88978 davids 85481 michaelb 84824 davidm 82677 davidb 81500 johnb 77800 michaelc
Or even the top usernames based on first name dot last name (sorry, I can’t link this one due to bandwidth concerns; but it’s included in the torrent):
17204 john.smith 7440 david.smith 7200 michael.smith 6784 chris.smith 6371 mike.smith 6149 arun.kumar 5980 james.smith 5939 amit.kumar 5926 imran.khan 5861 jason.smith
Or even the most common first or last names:
977014 michael 963693 john 924816 david 819879 chris 640957 mike 602088 james 584438 mark 515686 jason 503658 robert 484403 jessica 913465 smith 571819 johnson 512312 jones 503266 williams 471390 brown 386764 lee 360010 khan 355639 singh 343220 kumar 324972 miller
So, those are the top 10 lists. But I’ll bet you want everything!
But it occurred to me that this is public information that Facebook puts out, I’m assuming for search engines or whatever, and that it wouldn’t be right for me to keep it private. Why waste Facebook’s bandwidth and make everybody scrape it, right?
So, I present you with: a torrent! If you haven’t download it, download it now! And seed it for as long as you can.
This torrent contains:
- The URL of every searchable Facebook user's profile
- The name of every searchable Facebook user, both unique and by count (perfect for post-processing, datamining, etc)
- Processed lists, including first names with count, last names with count, potential usernames with count, etc
- The programs I used to generate everything
So, there you have it: lots of awesome data from Facebook. Now, I just have to find one more problem with Facebook so I can write “Revenge of the Facebook Snatchers” and complete the trilogy. Any suggestions? >:-)
So far, I have only indexed the searchable users, not their friends. Getting their friends will be significantly more data to process, and I don’t have those capabilities right now. I’d like to tackle that in the future, though, so if anybody has any bandwidth they’d like to donate, all I need is an ssh account and Nmap installed.
An additional limitation is that these are only users whose first characters are from the latin charset. I plan to add non-Latin names in future releases.
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