Assistant Professor of Marketing
College of Business
University of Mary Washington
Woodard Hall – Rm. 247
I recently read a paper that used a software program to scan all of the members of a Facebook group and capture information about them such as their school, their location, their gender, and in some cases their likes and dislikes. They referred to this as a web crawler, way beyond my area of expertise. Is this something that can be created?
I’ll give you some context. I met with the owner of the Popcorn Bag (Eagle Village) the other day because we’re doing focus groups for him. He asked if it was possible to see everybody that liked his Facebook page (about 6k people) and if so, could he find out any information about them such as where they are located, what schools they went to, any information they’re willing to share publicly. He wanted to use this information to understand who his customers are and how best to reach them with sales promotions. I told him that I had read a paper where the researchers had a program that captured information on everybody that posted information on a specific website (they didn’t specify which website but I suspect it was Facebook because the paper mentioned that users can invite other users to join). If the information can be gathered we’ll then use it to form clusters of customers for the business owner so they know who is liking their business. All of the information we collect would be publicly available information I believe.