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How to do a Facebook image search

You can track a photo back to its source by doing a Facebook image search.
How to track a photo back to its source by doing a Facebook image search

While there is no dedicated Facebook image search feature, with a bit of creativity, you can find who posted an image using a search engine or another external reverse image search tool. Has one of your photos been making the rounds on Facebook? Have you seen something you'd like to buy but have no idea where to find it? You can track a Facebook photo back to its source! In this article, you'll learn:

  • Why you can't do a Facebook image search within Facebook.
  • How to use Chrome and Google to quickly search for a Facebook image.
  • How to find a Facebook image on Bing.
  • How to do a reverse image search for a Facebook photo using TinEye.

Unable to find Facebook image from its ID

Every photo uploaded and posted to Facebook has a unique Facebook ID (fbid). It is built into the filename for that image, so it can't easily be faked. While you used to be able to take the image's filename and use its unique Facebook ID to jump directly to an image, Facebook has closed that function. So that leaves us to do a Facebook image searching using Google or other search engines, and using specialized reverse image search tools, like TinEye.

Use Chrome and Google to do a Facebook image search

If you use the Chrome browser, Google has made this the simplest way to do a reverse-image search from a Facebook photo.

  1. Right click on the image in your Facebook feed on in the photo album.
  2. Select Search Google for Image.
Right click and select Search Google for Image if you are using Chrome to search for a Facebook photo
Right click and select Search Google for Image if you are using Chrome to search for a Facebook photo

That's all there is to it! This is ideal if you quickly want to identify something - a breed of cat, a plant or flower, a mineral - Google is very good at giving you results and similar photos to compare. It will also help you find the original source of the photo.

Image results on Google when you search for a Facebook photo
Image results on Google when you search for a Facebook photo

To limit the results to show just images from Facebook, enter site:facebook.com in the search bar next to the image and press Enter to refresh the list.

Limit the images found to photos on Facebook in the Google search results
Limit the images found to photos on Facebook in the Google search results

Of course, if the account that published that image on Facebook isn't public or where Facebook has blocked search engines from seeing their photos, it won't turn up in the image search results.

Find a Facebook image on Bing

Bing lets you search using an image instead of a search phrase.

  1. Go to www.bing.com and click on Images at the top of the page.
  2. Click on the camera icon.
  3. Drop your image file into the dialog that asks you to Drop an image here.
Search for a Facebook image on Bing
Search for a Facebook image on Bing

The results that Bing shows you will include matching photos from publicly available Facebook posts (providing the user has allowed this in their privacy settings) as well as close matches and similar photos. You can see that this turtle photo posted on a Facebook page originally came from the rawpixel stock photography website, but the person who posted it hasn't allowed their account or photos to be seen by search engines.

Bing results when searching for a Facebook photo
Bing results when searching for a Facebook photo

Use a specialized reverse image search to find a Facebook image

There are several reverse image search tools available, and these are fantastic for finding where an image has been used on the internet, including on Facebook. TinEye is one of the more common tools, and can be used to perform a Facebook image search. Just like with the other methods of finding Facebook images described above, TinEye will only find Facebook profiles if the users have allowed search engines to find their photos.

  1. First, we need to open the image in a new tab. Right click on the Facebook photo, and select Open Image in New Tab.
    Facebook reverse image search: Open the image in a new browser tab
    Facebook reverse image search: Open the image in a new browser tab
  2. Now, look at the address of the image, and select the entire URL. Copy it by pressing Control+C on Windows, or Command+C on Mac.
    Facebook reverse image search: Copy the entire address
    Facebook reverse image search: Copy the entire address
  3. Go to www.tineye.com, and paste the address you just copied into the search field and press Enter, or click on the magnifying glass icon.
    Facebook reverse image search with TinEye: paste the address into the search field
    Facebook reverse image search with TinEye: paste the address into the search field

TinEye will return a list of where that particular image has been published on the internet. It will only return exact matches, and only to photos that are publicly accessible to search engines.

Facebook reverse image search: the results from TinEye
Facebook reverse image search: the results from TinEye
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