A facebook message archive visualizer inspired by gource

Project maintained by FSXAC Hosted on GitHub Pages — Theme by mattgraham


A Facebook Messenger chat archive visualizer. The screen is populated by nodes created based on chat and interaction history. Each node is a person; you’re at the center, and bubbles will fly from nodes to nodes based on the actual chat messages.

Version 0.5.1 screenshot:


This program can either run from the Processing IDE or executed as a standalone application. The former would require Processing 3 or above. The latter requires Java Runtime Environment.

How to Use

Data Preparation

  1. Go to Facebook account settings and Download Your information.
  2. Here you can select the data you want to download. For this visualizer program, we only need Messages.
  3. Ensure that Date Range is All of my data and format is JSON and click “Create File”. Facebook will take a few hours to days to generate a .zip file. You will be notified when it’s ready.
  4. Download and unzip the Facebook Messenger files into some directory.

Setup and Configure FBVis

  1. Download FBVis executable from releases page or clone the repository.

  2. Open the configuration file under data/config.ini using a text editor.

  3. Change the first line data_root_path to the path to the root of the Facebook Messenger files that we downloaded in previous section.

  4. Change master_name to your name on Facebook exactly (important). If you’re unsure of what your name is, open profile_information/profile_information.json from the folder you downloaded from Facebook, and look at the first entries:

      "profile": {
        "name": {
          "full_name": "Muchen He",
          "first_name": "Muchen",
          "last_name": "He"
    /* . . . truncated . . . */
  5. Save the config file and done.


Now either execute the FBVis executable or run it from the Processing IDE window. Here are the controls: