3/20/13

Convert Company Facebook Feeds into RSS, Then Into Useable Information

Image [cc] theanthonyryan
I found a cool resource a couple weeks ago and think it has some definite possibilities for those Client Development and Monitoring projects that many of us have to create and maintain these days. The idea is to use information that companies dissemenate on Facebook, but in the more managable form of an RSS feed.

Now Facebook used to allow you to convert a public page into an RSS feed (it was tricky, but doable) up until last November when it (apparently) changed its policy and nixed it unless the company specifically change the settings to allow for RSS. That is a shame, but not surprising, as how could they make money on all those ads if you were getting information without going straight to the Facebook site??

I use RSS feeds to pass into my InfoNgen account (I assume that the other products out there for aggregation should do this, too), and set up Client or Industry monitoring news and alerts based on those feeds. I really liked having the Facebook feeds because it tended to give more “what’s happening right now” information than the company’s website. So, I found it to be pretty valuable information. Perhaps some of the other aggregators can index Facebook pages directly, but InfoNgen doesn’t because Facebook apparently prohibits aggregators from doing so. However, why should I let a little thing like Facebook rules keep me from figuring out how to do it?? In other words, "Okay Facebook, challenge accepted!"

Here’s what I found that can do the trick, and my process that keeps it manageable.
  1. Have the user set up a generic Facebook account.
  2. Find the Facebook page that you want to monitor and “Like” that page (it can be individual or company)
  3. Go to http://fbrss.com and connect that Facebook account with this service
  4. The FBRSS page will take all of your “LIKE” pages and create an RSS feed for each of them.
  5. Copy the RSS links and request that they be added into your aggregator (or into your own RSS Feed Reader*)
I think this will work (at least until Facebook screws with something and causes the FBRSS service to fail.) Let me know if you get this to work in other aggregators, or if you have other tricks of dissemnating RSS Feeds that you don't mind sharing with the rest of us.

*By the way... I'm still ticked that Google is killing off Google Reader. They have really thrown a monkey wrench in many of my add-on features (like Shaunna Mireau discusses on SLAW) that I've developed over the years using Google Reader as the resources!! I give you a "-1" on that Google! Boo!!

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11 comments:

Jennifer Stephens said...

Greg, I tried going to fbrss.com and received a 502 Bad Gateway error message. I was intrigued by the idea of creating an RSS feed from a company Facebook page.

Amy N said...

This has worked for me.

http://blog.cometdocs.com/how-to-follow-a-facebook-page-via-rss-feed

Greg Lambert said...

Jennifer,

Seems that the site is down right now (figures!!)

-Greg

Greg Lambert said...

Amy N,

That formula works if the company has updated their settings to allow for RSS syndication. It works on some, but many of the ones I tested out will give you a "Facebook Syndication Error" message.

Jennifer Stephens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Hanlon said...

Actually Greg- it's not that Facebook blocks us, it's just the page is a little messy for our crawler so we need to build a custom crawler to properly parse it out. It is in the development queue for this year. I'll have to have the team test this method out for the interim, but it sounds like it might be a little buggy as a permanent solution..

Bruno Winck said...

Good tip, fb was missing in flow of news. This is fixed now.

Reece said...

Hi Greg, first time I've visited your blog (found through Google) and just wanted to say you're my personal hero for the day! :-) While I've already got the majority of the Facebook (Fan) Pages I Like in my aggregator via getting the ID and using http://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=atom10&id=PASTE_ID_HERE, there were a handful that would not work via that method (well, a feed existed with "Facebook Syndication Error".) or any others I read about. However, I began using fbrss.com and sure enough the feeds were there with no dramas. Cheers!

Virginia Lawrence said...

It worked for a couple of months, then suddenly we got this message on the web page where the feed should be:
Facebook

Please go to http://fbrss.com and log in again to continue using this feed.

Not a very friendly way to do business. I've logged in again and there's no change.

KINGRPG said...

I want to convert my fanpage rss as .xml but still don't know the way.

Gina Minton said...

I hope this works for Facebook fanpages as well.

 

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