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Being the leading social media platforms with huge user bases and unmatched reach worldwide, it is only natural that many business owners who venture into web scraping and data acquisition will need to use LinkedIn and Facebook Scraper to mine social media data. They are typically inclined towards scraping these sites and usually overlook the other options out there.
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We agree that Facebook and Linkedin have their monopoly in the social media space which makes them the go-to sources for anyone looking to extract social media data. However, there are certain issues which make Facebook and Linkedin data scraping non feasible.
Challenges in Social Media Data Crawling
1. They disallow bots in their robots.txt file
Both LinkedIn and Facebook have a massive amount of user-generated content. And they are not happy with sharing this data with anonymous businesses who might be looking to improve their operations using the same. Robots.txt is a file used by websites to communicate with web crawling bots about how they (bots) can access the data available on the website. Unfortunately, LinkedIn and Facebook deny access to bots in their robots file which means, you cannot crawl data from them by any automated means, without a customised Facebook scraper.
2. Legal complications of scraping Facebook and LinkedIn
When a website blocks access to crawlers, the ethical thing to do is leave that site and look for alternative sources. However, if you proceed with scraping LinkedIn/Facebook ignoring the robots file rules, be warned that they have been quite aggressive towards illegitimate scraping in the past. LinkedIn’s legal battle with HiQ is popular and you probably don’t want to get into something like that when there are alternate sources for the same kind of data.
Alternate sources to crawl for LinkedIn and Facebook
LinkedIn Alternatives to crawl
CareerBuilder: CareerBuilder is an online job portal with a considerable market share in the United States, Europe and Asia where they also have offices. If you are looking for job postings and company profiles, CareerBuilder is a reliable source you can crawl freely without legal worries.
Monster: Monster boasts of being one of the global leaders when it comes to connecting people to jobs. The company offers its services in more than 40 countries, with some of the broadest and innovative career search, management, talent acquisition and recruitment capabilities. Monster is a great alternative to LinkedIn.
Indeed: Indeed is a global job search engine which is currently available in over 60 countries and 28 languages. Apart from direct job postings, Indeed also aggregates job postings from thousands of websites including HR firms, job boards, company websites and more. If you are looking for job data, Indeed makes for a great LinkedIn alternative.
Facebook alternatives to crawl
Twitter: Twitter is one of the undisputed leaders in the social media space and can be a great data source for brand monitoring, sentiment analysis and a host of other text mining use cases. Twitter data is available via their API and is free to access if you have the right tools to automate it.
Instagram: Instagram, although owned by Facebook, provides access to their data via API which can be accessed on fair usage terms. Instagram also makes for a great data source for brand monitoring, trend spotting and similar applications for brands looking to connect with their customers on a deeper level.
Reddit: Reddit is a social media portal with a huge user base and wide range of topics in the form of subreddits. You can get meaningful insights by extracting Reddit data using web scraping no matter what industry or niche your business belongs to.
Looking to extract data with Facebook scraper?
While extracting data from LinkedIn and Facebook is out of question at the moment, there are a host of social media websites out there which might even be more relevant to your industry or niche. All you have to do is take out the time to research. Feel free to reach out if you are looking to extract data from social media portals.