The Great Facebook Referrer Puzzle

I promised myself that if I ever Googled anything and didn’t get a response, I’d put up a post about it so that other people won’t have the same problem!

So here it is:  When Facebook links to some web site, they pass along an indicator that tells you how the person who clicked the link got to the profile that the link is on (this is called the referrer, or referer if you like misspelling things in protocol specifications).  For example, if they clicked on your profile in their “news feed,” the code passed along would be nf.

You would think that since Facebook is providing this seemingly useful service, they would tell you what each of the various codes are.  I couldn’t find a listing anywhere, and I find it very odd that that’s the case! Every now and then a new code comes in and I try to sleuth it out but a lot of the time, I can’t tell.  Anyway, this post is my place to put information about what I discover on this topic.

Here’s the list of codes I know about:

  • nf = “News Feed”
  • hiq = “Manual Query”
  • ts = “Friend Search”
  • mf = “Mutual Friend’s News Feed”

Links that don’t track referrers:

  • “In a Relationship With”
  • “People you May Know”
  • “Friends” tab
  • “Inbox” (I would think they would do this one)
  • “Photos”

If you know of any other codes or you know of any “official” information about this, I’d be glad to hear it.  I think I had seen one other code but I can’t find it now in my site history of referrers.

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3 Responses

  1. I found this post because I was googling for information about a code that doesn’t appear on your list (ref=sgm). It’s really hard to find information about this stuff. :/

  2. sgm = Search Group Members
    pymk = People You May Know which now does have a tracking referer.

  3. Hi, i got ” ?ref=hl ” at the end on my Facebook page. I found your topic becouse trying to identify whats going on there, looks like somebody doing some nasty stuff at me!

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