Searching Facebook Fans… IS BACK!

Around the time when Facebook started to modify graph search they also limited the possibility to see who have liked a certain page. The 1m fan in case of the below IBM Facebook page is not anymore clickable/searchable. What a loss for marketing and recruiting professionals!

In the last few months though I started to discover “unofficial pages” on Facebook.

These seem to be those pages that users have created in the past (e.g. they joined Facebook and added a random employer name so that Facebook had created a new page for that employer). As companies have never claimed these pages they officially became “unofficial”. An “unofficial page” on Facebook is not maintained by a corporation – basically those are just left somewhere there within the Facebook page universe.

This person above, for instance, has added IBM Argentina as their employer which is not an official IBM page. If you open that page you’ll see that Facebook has marked it as unofficial and also, the hyperlinks for likes and visits are also left there. Did you hear what I just said?!

The hyperlinks




In this case it is 75,787 people becoming fully searchable that have liked IBM Argentina.

The moment you click on this hyperlink you’ll open a new page where you’ll see all the 75K fans of this “unofficial” IBM Argentina page. How very sweet is that?!

And now… listen! there is even more.

Not sure how and why… but I started to play with x-raying unofficial pages this week. I basically was interested to understand if I could find these pages via Google x-ray searches. I was using this string: “unofficial page” IBM

And yes, this experiment proved to be —v e r y— positive. Not only was the above search retrieving every unofficial page related to IBM but I was also able to discover one more trick.

A trick that will please so many of you. ❤️

I recently understood that unofficial pages often were redirecting users to official pages. I’m not entirely sure what is going on here but it looks like corporations that own the brand want to somehow aggregate these legacy pages with their official Facebook fan page.

In this above case the unofficial page IBM/Temp2 is redirecting you to the very official (the one and only, globally featured) IBM page. IBM/Temp2 is still existing and if you click on the name (on the hyperlink) you’ll be able to see the data on that unofficial page.

🧙‍♂️🧙‍♂️🧙‍♂️ And this is where the magic happens. 🧙‍♂️🧙‍♂️🧙‍♂️ Unofficial pages (in most cases) seem to have taken the very same fan data from the official pages. In case of this IBM/Temp2 page we see 1,092,551 people that have liked this page…

…which is the exact same number that we see on the global IBM page!

And as above, this hyperlink on the unofficial IBM/Temp2 page is clickable so we do see EVERYONE who has EVER liked IBM! That’s more than one million people on Facebook!

There are some cases when the unofficial page does not have the same fan-data, however, most of the searches I was running today seemed to prove my theory.

To make this search work for you just add your company name at the end of this string: “unofficial page” company

Thanks for reading it. Happy Sourcing, my friend!

PS. I’m running two Sourcing Masterclass sessions in July where I can help you transform into a real sourcing animal. 😅 We have gotten registrations for both classes so if you wanna join us you must be quick. There are only 8 seats/class as these are super small-sized custom training sessions. The schedule is this:

  • 13-20. July 10AM – 12PM CET every day
  • 20-27. July 10AM – 12PM EST every day

You can check the detailed agenda here.

Registration fee is 480 EUR (app. 545 USD). See you there!

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash


  1. Hi Balazs, Great discovery. When I look at the results though, I’m not getting very many people. Looking at my results for IBM Argentina I’m only able to see 27 people. I’ve tried this with some other unofficial pages and again am getting very few results. I know Facebook is built more for speed than complete result sets but even then, these seem very low numbers. Any ideas?

    1. Hey Shane – so nice to hear from you! Yes… sometimes these are low numbers (sometimes the page is not even downloading 🙁 so it’s pretty buggy, unfortunately.

      In other cases (like here it will download 365 ppl from 411 likes…

      Clearly – this is something I don’t understand but you IT guys may be able to figure out 😉

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