Tools for Visualizing Facebook Social Graphs

Facebook Graph in Three Dimensions

Facebook Graph in 3 Dimensions
Made with UCINet, NetDraw and Mage.

Social Graph of Ariel Waldman

You can do this for your network. Simply see these instructions:

Using Netvizz and Gephi to analyze a Facebook network

Read more at the Sociomatic Blog

Here’s what the output looks like:

Made with My Online Social Network app for Facebook, and visualized with GUESS.

I get a “not found” error.

But when I try to run it myself, I get a “Not found” error.

Social Network Graph of Amber Case

TouchGraph Photos seems to have been discontinued.

There’s an excellent Slideshare presentation:
Facebook network analysis using Gephi

Following an announcement on Sept 30 2009, Nexus friend grapher shut down permanently on Oct 7 2009. Nexus generated over 500,000 friend graphs for 84,000 users. It was shut it down because it’s creators no longer had time to maintain or operate it.

The Nexus site suggested a few possible alternatives: Social Graph, TouchGraph Photos, NameGenWeb (data only), Friend Wheel, Facebook friends Constellation. For Twitter, MentionMap.

Only one of these works for Facebook, and that’s Friendwheel. Unlike the others, it doesn’t group users in a way that shows the social gravity between users.

I was able to find another alternative, My Online Social Network app on Facebook, visualized with GUESS.

It also doesn’t work. I was able to find Flickr photos of the output from owners, and I asked them what happened to their apps. No responses yet.


I found Netvizz, which generates GDF files for GUESS and Gephi.

This is the only thing close to working, but when I run it, I get:

netvizz v0.3
Fatal error: Uncaught exception ‘FacebookRestClientException’ with message ‘This API call could not be completed due to resource limits’ in /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/php/facebookapi_php5_restlib.php:3374 Stack trace: #0 /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/php/facebookapi_php5_restlib.php(1723): FacebookRestClient->call_method(‘facebook.users….’, Array) #1 /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/index.php(124): FacebookRestClient->users_getInfo(‘13467,13903,124…’, Array) #2 {main} thrown in /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/php/facebookapi_php5_restlib.php on line 3374

I checked the resource limitations, and it is built to handle networks of up to 4500 connections. I only have 900.

Then I found this:
Facebook Mutual Friend Network Visualization in Flash

The interface lets you see which of your friends know each other. At any given time it will show one of your friends as the selected node (in bold), and any mutual friends as additional nodes. Lines between nodes represent friendships. Clicking a node will select it and you and the new person’s mutual friends will appear. Finally, the colour of the circles represents gender for now: yellow is female, purple is male, and grey is unknown.

Guess what? It doesn’t work either.

Also, a lot of the source code became part of the Constellation Framework graph visualization library so the creator can’t release it. Although he mentioned on his blog that he was hoping to do another Facebook visualization using Framework and make the source for customizations available, nothing has shown up on his site.

Now what?

Here’s my question: does anyone know of any other solid ways to visualize Facebook network data? If not, is anyone interested in getting the Nexus code back up and running? It’s available and generates the best visualizations I’ve seen out there.

Nexus source code: Nexus-2009-10-14.tar.bz2 (see MUST-README.txt, DEPLOYMENT.txt files)

It’s written in Python and JavaScript, but the code quality is “PHP era” (no test coverage, tightly coupled, other problems). The site creators mention that it will take two days to get a Nexus instance running. If you do not know Python or cannot use a shell on Linux, it will not work for you.

2 thoughts on Tools for Visualizing Facebook Social Graphs

  1. I have a very similar problem…I am trying to analyze a facebook group network for my Master Thesis. I tried Netvizz v0.3, but I ran into the sam error message you quoted…
    Now, my question is, are there any tools (possibly free) to analyze a network in a facebook group?

Leave a Reply