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How to Migrate your Facebook Friends to Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn

Please Note: See the New & Updated Article

Yahoo now tags all contacts that have been imported from Facebook, making it difficult to migrate your Facebook friends information. I have written a new article which outlines a new way to transfer your Facebook contacts to Twitter using a special bookmarklet.

See New Facebook-Twitter Migration Article


twitter facebook google(UPDATED- It seems Yahoo have made it difficult to export Facebook contacts, see below)

So, you’ve built up great contacts and friends on Facebook, but you want to follow them on TwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn? Unfortunately Facebook has had a history of making it difficult to export your data out. It’s pretty ridiculous if you think about it- it’s your data and Facebook shares our information with many of the big companies every day.

It is, however, possible to export your friend’s contact information and migrate them to Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. There are a few things to note with this approach:

  1. This only exports your personal Facebook profile’s friends. i.e. not any fans on any of your Facebook pages. There have been many hacks that have tried to achieve this (notably this Javascript hack by Adam Loving – @adamloving) but many either don’t work or have been removed, presumably after being contacted by Facebook.
  2. It depends on the privacy settings of each friend. Each friend will have different privacy settings and not all friends will be sharing their email address.
  3. It only works for Facebook friends who already use Twitter. OK, this is obvious, but the friend has to already be on Twitter for you to be able to follow them! For those not on Twitter yet, you’ll get the chance to invite them to Twitter. This is not quite the same with Google+ as they don’t need to be a signed up member. When you add one of your Facebook friends to Google+ you will have the option to send them a post as an email.
  4. You can’t force them to be your Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn Friend/Connection. Another obvious point, this will only allow you to follow them on Twitter. Twitter works differently with contacts from Facebook. On Facebook there needs to be a mutual agreement to the relationship. On Twitter you can follow someone without them following you back (unless one of you has protected their tweets)

I’d love to be able to share a way of migrating your Facebook business page fans to Google+ or Twitter, but currently that’s not possible. Here is how you migrate your Facebook friends (personal profile) to Twitter. We’ll deal with Google+ at the end.

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1.) Sign up (or log into) Yahoo Mail.

If you already have Yahoo! Mail, just sign in as usual. If you haven’t, sign up for a new account. If you already have a Yahoo account, then you might want to create a new account so that your contacts don’t get mixed up. It’s up to you.

 2.) Import your Facebook Contacts

Click on the contacts tab at the top, and then click the button “import contacts” on the right. Note, if you have just signed up for a new Yahoo! Mail account, you may get this option as soon as you create the account.

Yahoo Mail Importer You’ll then be presented with a number of import options. Click on the Facebook icon to proceed.

Facebook permissions A Facebook permissions box will appear, asking you if you are happy for your contacts information to be shared with Yahoo!. Click on OK to proceed.

Getting stuff from Facebook Yahoo! Mail then tried to get your contacts information from Facebook.

  Now importing …processing information…

Facebook Export done  …congratulations, your Facebook contacts have been imported! Click the Done button.

UPDATE May 22, 2012- There have been comments that the import fails, or only imports some of your contacts. I’ve tested the above process many times over the past few months. Sometimes the import failed, sometimes it only imported 50 of my 235 contacts, and sometimes it worked. I’ve tested it again today and it does seem to be working again. As far as I can tell, Yahoo have had some issues with their API, so my advice is to keep trying. Just in case (and this is unlikely) it is a browser issue, I’ve been using Google Chrome and can confirm it worked today- so keep trying!

Yahoo! Contacts Importer UPDATE June 5, 2012-
Despite it working for me, some people have commented below that they are still having issues importing contacts from Facebook into Yahoo! Mail. After a bit more research, it does appear that Yahoo is aware of the problem and is working on it. If you are still having issues, then you could try removing the Yahoo! Contact Importer app from Facebook and then re-add it. To remove the app from Facebook, visit the app settings page in Facebook and click on the cross by Yahoo! Contact Importer. Once you’ve done this, go through all the steps above and try again. Please let me know how you get on in the comments below, and whether this solves the issue for you. Once I hear anything more from Yahoo! I will update this article.

You could stop here if you want- then you’ll have backed up your Facebook contacts in Yahoo Mail! However, since this post is about migrating your Facebook friends to Twitter, we need to move on…!

3) Importing your Facebook Friends to Twitter

UPDATED- 6 March 2012- Unfortunately, Yahoo! Mail no longer allow you to export any contacts that were imported from Facebook as can be seen on this “help” article. You can still export to Twitter, but only if you edit each contact individually. When you edit each contact, you’ll automatically remove the Facebook tag. I’m looking at ways of making this easier and will update this article soon.

Twitter Importer Log into you Twitter account (you do have one, don’t you?!) and head on down to the Twitter importer. You can find this by clicking on the previous link, or by clicking on Discover then Find Friends on the left navigation. Click on the Search Contacts button by the Yahoo! Mail option. (As I said in the update text above, you will probably receive an error message because Yahoo is blocking the export of your Facebook contacts. One workaround at the moment, is to edit each contact individually to remove the Facebook tag). The other more automated way (but very complicated) is to use this method by  which involved Excel and a Chrome addon- not for the faint hearted.

Yahoo! Mail Permissions Once the Yahoo! Mail permissions window loads, click on the Agree button. This gives Twitter permission to import your Yahoo! Mail contacts.

Twitter Import Complete Import Complete! Congratulations, you have successfully migrated your Facebook friends to Twitter. Of course, not all your Facebook friends will be on Twitter, so you’ll also have the option of inviting them to Twitter.

Adding your Facebook Friends to Google+

google+Another cool thing you can do is migrate your Facebook friends to Google+. It works in a very similar way. Firstly, import your Facebook friends into Yahoo! Mail as shown above, then go to your circles page on Google+ and link your Yahoo! contacts. You can then drag all your FB friends to a circle of your choice. The advantage here is that your Facebook contacts don’t have to be Google+ users. You’ll have the option of sending posts to their email address instead.

Adding your Facebook Friends to LinkedIn

LinkedIn import contactsOnce you have all your Facebook contacts imported to your Yahoo! contacts, it’s really easy to import these into LinkedIn. Just click through to contacts and then “add connections”. Put your Yahoo email address in the email box under the heading “See Who You Already Know on LinkedIn” and click continue. LinkedIn will see you that you are using a Yahoo email address and will automatically connect to Yahoo!. Click on “Agree” on the new window that pops up under the heading “Click “Agree” to sign in to using your Yahoo! ID and allow sharing of Yahoo! info.” and your contacts should be imported into LinkedIn!

Adding your Facebook Friends to Pinterest

pinterest contact import As Pinterest naturally connects to your Facebook friends, it’s very easy to do this. Just make sure you connect your Facebook account with Pinterest and then click on “Find Friends from Facebook”. Obviously none of my Facebook friends are Pinterest users though, so this wasn’t very helpful to me!

Adding your Facebook Page Fans to Twitter/Google+/LinkedIn?

As I mentioned at the start of this post, unfortunately it isn’t possible. Adam Loving posted his article on how to export your Facebook fan page to a CSV file in 2009, but this stopped working in 2011 when Facebook updated their API. It was a bit of a hack and there was no doubt this went against Facebook’s terms and conditions, which could create the possibility of you getting banned.

It’s a big shame that it’s not possible to migrate your Facebook fan page fans to Twitter. However, in some ways that’s probably a good idea. think about the security and privacy implications. When you “like” a Facebook business page, would you happy for your email address to be used in this way?

However, it seems Facebook are making it more and more difficult to even find out the names of your Facebook page fans. The list of “likes” is hidden in the Insights section, and there you will only be able to see the first 500 people. Again, Adam Loving, in a post last month (April 2012) sums up the problem rather well. Have a read- it’s entitled (rather provocatively) 5 reasons Facebook pages are evil!

Other Thoughts

I hope you found this information useful. Please do let me know how you get on, and whether there are any contact migration guides you’d be interested in.

For a step by step video explaination of how to import your Facebook friends to Yahoo! Mail, check out this one by Adam Pash (@adampash) from Lifehacker:

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