How to find permanent URLs for (old) Facebook posts and comments

If you are a researcher or a student and have to adhere to rigorous reference demands and if you are working with social media, it is likely that at some point you will have to reference a Facebook post or even a Facebook comment. If you don’t know how to find the permanent URLs (aka PermaURLs) for these items, you will have a hard time, because Facebook’s interaction design definitely does not help you retrieve it easily. You might even experience that the posts you want to reference have mysteriously disappeared! Don’t despair, they haven’t. So here goes:

Case: You are looking for a post or comment made perhaps last year or even several years ago on a Facebook page or similar, which you need to reference in an article or paper (or save for later).

1) Go to the page in question and click the year the post was made on the page timeline. You can find this timeline to the right of the coverphoto

2) Facebook will now start retrieving posts from that year, BUT it only selects “highlights” from that year when doing this. So you might start looking for the post you need scrolling through that year without ever finding it (because it was a not so popular post). To get Facebook to show ALL posts from the year in question, scroll to the top of that year in the post column and find the last posts of that year (f.i. if you are looking at 2014, scroll to where 2014 ends, and 2015 begins). If you look closely, there is a gap between the two years and here there is a tab called “highlights” (see photo). Click this tab, and you now have the opportunity to select “all stories” instead: choosing this will prompt Facebook to show all posts from that year –be aware it might take some time if it was a year with many posts.

Highlights screenshot
[click image for a larger version]

3) Now find the post you want to reference. It will contain a timestamp. Clicking on the timestamp will take you to a new page = the permanent url for that post! (you can also just rightclick the link and copy the URL).

[click photo and you can see the timestamp and the permanent URL in the lower left corner]

4) If you want to reference a comment to this post, just click the timestamp (date) in the comment, and the same applies: this will take you to a new page = the permanent URL for the comment(s). Notice that Facebook will just birefly highlight the comment in question but show it and all the other comments. However, the comment you want to reference will always be at the bottom of the page! The URL will look something like this:
If you want to clean up the URL a bit, so it is not so long, you can safely remove the last part of information so that last part of the URL is the comment_id number, in this case:

Use this URL as reference and it should be easy for a critical reviewer to find and read the comment you’re quoting!

If you have similar hacks for referencing related to Facebook, I’ll be grateful if you share in the comments 🙂

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