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Convert FB Group to Self Hosted Forum

Discussion in 'Products & Tools' started by pjk, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. #1
    Hello,
    I've been thinking about FB Groups vs Self Hosted communities a lot lately. I've ran several large forums over the last 15 years, and also run several large Facebook groups.

    I'm a member of a language learning FB group, and wanted to come up with ways to improve the community (see below). This led to me coming up with an idea to create a tool that would allow you to port your FB group off FB to better build the community. I'm building and almost finished with the tool now.

    Issues with Facebook groups:
    1) Posts can’t easily be searched, browsed, or categorized. This leads to large amounts of duplicate content, wasted admin time, and excellent discussions get lost. So much good info in just the recent past is essentially gone and not used or referenced again.
    2) Facebook owns the group. If tomorrow they shut it down, everything is gone. There would be no way to recover the posts, and no way to regroup our community.
    3) The options to develop the group are very limited, so as more people use it, all there really is is more discussions that will be “lost”. Facebook doesn’t give you the proper tools for a huge group like this.
    4) Discussions can’t be linked to, so referencing past posts is difficult, therefore they get lost and mostly unused after a few days.
    SEMrush
    The goal of this is to help the communities that exist on FB, and everyone work together to create the most beneficial community for all. Obviously the FB group is big because it is convenient and everyone is already on Facebook, however, in the long run it leads to huge amounts of great discussion being essentially lost and un-used, along with no way to move the community forward as it grows. Additionally, people who don't use FB can't find the content or use it.

    The biggest and really the only reason people use FB groups is because it is on FB, provides instant notification, and everyone is already on it. It is convenient. That aside, it is a horrible platform to develop a community, especially in the long run. The idea of starting this project came from being annoyed by how many great discussions became virtually un-used after just a few days (In virtually every one I actively use).

    The tool that I'm working on, which I've used myself already with several of my communities, basically ports the content, users, threads, timestamps, etc. and formats it into a SQL database that can be imported into phpBB, the biggest free open source community platform. From there, it can easily be converted to vBulletin, Xenforo, or any other platform. There are forums with millions of posts running on these platforms fine, and all the posts are searchable and used far more than a FB group.

    What are you guys thoughts on this project? Is anyone here interested in working on it as well? If you're interested in testing it out before the release and/or want to be notified when it is released, please shoot me a PM or checkout fbconvert.com. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
    pjk, Jul 5, 2015 IP
    SEMrush
  2. daftdog

    daftdog Active Member

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    #2
    I am very interested....are you planning a product launch? I would love to use this and promote it...never seen something like this before....
     
    daftdog, Jul 23, 2015 IP
  3. stevenwatson011

    stevenwatson011 Member

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    #3
    I could not understand how it's work. Can't believe until i see it myself.
     
    stevenwatson011, Jul 26, 2015 IP
  4. Blogzandstuff

    Blogzandstuff Greenhorn

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    #4
    Are you not worried about data protection and possible hacking, will you get a SSL? I would personally stay with facebook as people know and trust it
     
    Blogzandstuff, Sep 30, 2015 IP
  5. etc

    etc Active Member

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    #5
    I'd be very interested.
    I do have an existing fb group and also forumboard to which I post my threads in the fb group to spark interest to members. can this tool be useful for it?
     
    etc, Sep 30, 2015 IP
  6. evildrome

    evildrome Greenhorn

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    #6
    I don't want to be Capt. Post Hijacker but as this an old post with no actual usable tool yet, I'd like to point out that I have in fact created a tool to download FB groups and I have scripts to convert the downloaded FB group to phpBB or WordPress or SMF or... whatever.

    You can contact me here: http://www.personalgroupware.com/Facebook.htm

    Please mention that you are from Digitalpoint Forum.
     
    evildrome, Oct 20, 2017 IP
  7. Patricia Ann Lee

    Patricia Ann Lee Active Member

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    #7
    That'll be complicated because you've already established a community within facebook but I'm interested if it'll work. Hope you can update us with the progress. :)
     
    Patricia Ann Lee, Oct 20, 2017 IP
  8. evildrome

    evildrome Greenhorn

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    #8
    It does work!

    Here is an example SQLite database of a public group:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jr5vew90hbgw4rg/595979007176283.zip?dl=0

    This SQLite database can be used with scripts I have written to load the data to phpBB or Wordpress.

    The problem is that even as the group owner, you won't have users email addresses AND you should offer an opt out from reposting data in another forum.

    Facebook DO NOT own your posts. They have a limited licence to reproduce them. You retain copyright, not Facebook.

    This means that you can recreate your FB group in (for example) phpBB but if you want to reproduce some else's posts, you need to offer at least an opt out.

    So in your FB group you would post

    " I am going to recreate this group at <url> as a <forum format> group so that we have control of our group.

    If you want to join this forum please request a password from me. I have setup all the members of this group on the new group.

    If you do not want your posts reposted in the new forum please let me know."

    So what you do is load all the data to the new group, each member is created with their FB name but a dummy email address (because you don't know their email addresses). When the user requests a password you give them a password (easiest method is make all passwords initially the same). Tell them when they join the group to change their password and change their email address from the dummy to the correct email address.

    I have done this already with a very large LinkedIn group and it worked for the owner.

    http://homeenergypros.org/forum

    This was a large LinkedIn group. Now the owner has full control.
     
    evildrome, Oct 23, 2017 IP