Perhaps you've received an email from someone whose address you don't recognize, and you'd like to find out more information about this person before responding. One of the best ways to do this is to simply search for their email address on Facebook. Since Facebook is the world's largest social networking site with literally hundreds of millions of registered users, the chances are relatively good that they will have a profile there. Here's how you search for someone on Facebook via email (note: you must be signed into Facebook in order to use most of these features):
Facebook's email-specific search tools
- Type the email address (or use a copy and paste keyboard shortcut) into the Facebook search bar. By default, this will only bring back results from people who made their personal information public (some people choose to block public access of their Facebook profile).
- Use the Facebook Friend Finder to further investigate the email address. This page lets you search for people by name, email, school name, and company. If you are unsuccessful finding any results for the email address, sometimes you might hit pay dirt simply by dividing the email address into parts. First, look for the initial name, for example, "firstname.lastname@example.org", to see if that person has used their email signature somewhere else on the network; perhaps as a username, or as part of another email address. Second, if the location section of the email address you're looking for is from a school or company, i.e., "columbia university" or "nike", you can use these clues to drill down within Facebook's listings for those organizations simply by typing the names into the Classmate Search or Search by Company search boxes.
Search Facebook's entire network
As stated earlier in this article, by default, Facebook Search allows you to search for anyone in the entire Facebook network, as long as they haven't put any restrictions on their public Facebook profile information. In order to find someone who you are not personally connected to as a friend in the Facebook network, start typing the email address into the Search box. A feature called Facebook Typeahead will kick in, suggesting results from your circle of friends first. In order to widen this circle, click on "See More Results For", and your results will instantly cast a wider net, both onto Facebook and the Web in general (as of this writing, Facebook utilizes Bing for its external search results). You can filter Facebook's internal search results by selecting the different search groups/filters on the left-hand side of the page; People, Pages, Applications, Groups, etc.
Blocked email addresses on Facebook
Email addresses on Facebook, if they are attached to an account in some way, can be found on Facebook, even if the person has blocked visibility of that email address in Facebook searches. Because Facebook changes their privacy settings often, this situation may change. However, if the person has used another email address in their Facebook profile other than the one you are searching for, or they've restricted their account privacy settings to be only visible to friends and family, your search might not be successful.
Sending a message to someone outside your Facebook network
If you find the person on Facebook via an email search, you can actually send them an email without being connected to them personally. These messages would be sent to a folder marked "Other" in their Facebook messaging center. It's up to that person whether they choose to accept your message and reply to it.
What if I can't find the email address on Facebook?
If you've tried all the tips listed in this article and still can't find the email address you're looking for, there are several possible reasons for this. First, many people have legitimate concerns about privacy on Facebook, and choose to restrict and/or limit searches of their Facebook profile. Second, although there are a lot of people on Facebook, some people just haven't decided to join up; the person you are looking for simply might not have an account. Third, sometimes a general search on Facebook can yield too many results. Try filtering your search by using the People search option, which restricts your search results more efficiently.
Other email search options
If the person you're searching for on Facebook via email does not have a public profile listed, or doesn't have a Facebook account at all, then their email address won't appear in any internal Facebook search results. However, if they've placed that email address anywhere on the Web - blogs, forums, websites, etc. - then a simple search engine query will turn it up. Learn more about tracking down email addresses by reading Reverse Email Search: How to Find Information Using An Email Address.