Do you want to know the name behind a face? Or maybe you’ve tried unsuccessfully to look for a previous contact? Either way, you have a photo but you need a name to go with that photo.
Of course, there are other reasons to do reverse image searches other than identifying people. You might want to find the source of an image to check the licensing to see if you can use the image on your website or elsewhere.
There are two ways to do a reverse image search for Facebook. Although Facebook doesn’t have a reverse image search feature, you can use the unique numerical ID that Facebook assigns to every image on Facebook to identify the source of the photo. Alternatively, you can use Google Image Search to do a reverse image search outside of Facebook.
Here’s how to find the origin of a photo you find on Facebook.
How to Reverse Image Search
One of the easiest ways to find information about an image is by doing a reverse image search. You can use search engines like Google Images , TinEye , or RevImg  to quickly find the source of a picture.
To use a reverse image search engine, you need the image location or the actual image. You can also download the image and save it. To save an image from Facebook, you can either right-click and tap “Save Image As” from the web browser, or open the image on the app and tap the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner and click save.
For Google, you can either paste the image URL or upload the image you downloaded and saved.
Keep in mind, though, that your reverse image search results may vary depending on the profile settings of the profile from which the photo originated. If the user has their privacy locked down, you may not be able to figure out who’s profile the image originated from. You may find information about the photo from sources other than Facebook, leading you to the source of the photo that you’re looking for.
Instead of or in addition to a reverse image search, there is a method you can use within Facebook to trace a photo back to the originating profile.
Read on for instructions on how to match an image to a profile on Facebook.
How to Use Facebook Photo ID Numbers
Did you know that some Facebook images have a Facebook photo number embedded in the file name? Using this method is relatively simple.
If you do choose to use this method, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, the profile you’re led to may not be the person in the photo. It may be where the photo originated, but that photo may have been taken and shared by someone else.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that you may get to a Facebook profile but the information you see may be limited. It depends on the person’s privacy settings. For optimal results, the profile needs to be public, which of course isn’t always the case.
With that in mind, here’s how to use this method to find specific Facebook profiles.
Step 1: Locate Photo ID Number
First, you need to locate the Facebook photo ID number on the image. To do this, right-click on the image and choose “View Image/Photo.” Doing this may reveal the original link for the image. Alternatively, you can right-click on the photo and choose “Copy image address.”
Somewhere near the beginning of the link, you should see the letters “fb.” That stands for Facebook, and it confirms that is where the image came from. But you’re not done yet. You still need the find the photo’s unique number assigned by Facebook.
In the link address, you should see three sets of numbers followed by “jpg” or “png.” For example, you may see a URL that looks similar to this:
The sets of numbers may also be broken up by underscores to look like this:
Either way, it’s the second or middle set of numbers that you want. This is the profile number for the person’s photo on Facebook. In this case, it would be 105484896xxxxx.
Every Facebook user and every photo on Facebook has a unique number, so by matching the image’s ID with the profile ID, you now have a match.
Step 2: Opening Up the Facebook Profile with the Photo ID
Your next step is using that second set of numbers to locate the Facebook profile where the image originated. To do this, open up another tab and paste the following link with the photo ID number:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=[insert photo ID number here]
Make sure that there are no spaces or decimals when you copy the id number. The actual number of digits may vary from the example, so you may get one that’s shorter or longer. Press Enter to open the Facebook profile that the image may have originated from.
Does Reverse Image Search Actually Work?
Using a reverse image search may be the easiest way to lookup information. It’s not the most comprehensive, though, especially for social media websites.
Instead, check out the name format. See if the photo comes from Facebook or another website. If it is from Facebook, you can try locating the photo ID and using the generic URL to bring you to the right Facebook page.
Keep in mind that neither method is completely reliable. Both results may vary depending on many factors. But you may luck out and be one step closer to putting a name to a face, and that’s a step closer than you were before you tried.