Looking For Someone? Use Facebook Image Search

It might be creepy but if you have a picture, it can be done

A screenshot of Facebook.
Pixabay/Simon

Facebook doesn't let you search directly for people by image using Facebook itself.

However, if you've ever had a photo of someone, it is still possible to find them using third party tools/methods.

Find Someone on Facebook With a Picture and Google Images

The most powerful and popular way of performing a Facebook image search is to actually perform a Google image search with the image you have in your possession.

Google Image search
  1. Open your web browser.

  2. Type images.google.com into your browser's address/search bar.

  3. Click the "Search by image" icon on the right-hand side of Google Images search bar (the icon looks like a camera).

  4. Click the Upload an image tab, and then click Choose file.

  5. Find the file in your Documents/Downloads/etc., click on it, and then click Open.

Clicking Open prompts Google Images to begin searching the web for your image. If you're lucky, the search results will reveal a Facebook page belonging to the person you're looking for, although you may need to scroll through several pages of results before finding your man (or woman). Generally, you need to search through the results under the "Pages that include matching images" subheading.

Google Image search for facebook.com

One way of potentially making this search more precise is to specify the domain (i.e. "Facebook.com") in which Google Images searches for your image. Assuming that you've already completed Steps 1-5 above, you can specify the domain by doing the following:

  1. On the results page of your Google Image search, type "site:facebook.com" (without the quotation marks) into the search bar.

  2. Press Enter/Return.

This will narrow the scope of your image search to the Facebook domain, which should hopefully make it easier for you to find who you're looking for on the social network itself.

How to Find Someone on Facebook With a Picture Using Google Images and URL

One slight alternative to the above method involves using Google Images to search for an online picture using its URL. This can sometimes be more precise than searching using a photo you have saved as a file on your computer, so it's worth trying, even if you've already tried using a photo saved to your device.

Google Image search URL

The process is almost identical to the first one above, albeit with a slightly different Step 4 (and 5).

  1. Open your web browser.

  2. Type images.google.com into your browser's address/search bar and press Enter/Return.

  3. Click the "Search by image" icon on the right-hand side of Google Images search bar (the icon looks like a camera).

  4. Copy and paste your photo's URL into the search bar (beneath the "Paste image URL" tab).

  5. Click the Search by image box.

Once again, running this search will bring up a number of results, beginning with the most general at the top of the page. For example, Google will provide a "Best guess for this image" suggestion, which often amounts to a guess of the type of object in the picture (e.g. 'woman,' 'tree', 'sea'). Below this, you'll see a couple of page suggestions, then "Visually similar images" and then "Pages that include matching images," which should hopefully include a Facebook page belonging to the person you're trying to track down.

Additional Ways to Find Someone From Facebook

If you're not much of a Google fan, one option you can try is a third-party reverse image search engine or website. One of the best known and most used of these is TinEye, which can be added as an extension to any major browser, or which can be used simply by visiting its website.

TinEye
  1. Open your web browser.

  2. Type tineye.com into your browser's address/search bar and press Enter/Return.

  3. If you have a photo saved on your device, click the Upload icon (looks like an arrow pointing upwards) on the left-hand side of the TinEye search bar.

  4. Choose the photo you'd like to search for, and then click Open.

This begins the search. However, if you have the photo you're searching for on URL, you should simply copy and paste the URL into the TinEye search bar and then press the Search icon.

Regardless of whether you use a URL or a photo saved on your device, running a search will produce a list of websites on which your image can be found. One thing that's handy about TinEye is that it lets you filter by domain, which you can do by clicking the Filter by domain/collection search bar and choosing "facebook.com" (assuming that it's there).

However, in our experience, TinEye doesn't produce as many results as Google Images, so it might not always bear fruit. But it's always worth a try. Alternatively, you can try other engines that enable reverse image searches, such as Bing (Bing Image Match), YandexWho stole my pictures? (Firefox extension), and Veracity (iPhone app).