OSINT Toolbox Talk: Scraping social media data, analysing disinformation, and batch scraping from Telegram

OSINT Tool Review

Analysing Instagram user data with Instahunter


Analysing Instagram user data with Instahunter Analysing Instagram user data with Instahunter https://github.com/Araekiel/instahunter

When it comes to OSINT and Facebook-associated platforms including Instagram, it is considered by many to be a tedious relationship and often akin to ‘cat and mouse’ whereby Facebook continuously seeks to implement features designed to prevent us from collecting data from its platforms. As such, programmers are faced with the constant need to adjust their programmes and scripts in order to account, or sometimes circumvent such features.

There are plenty of tools and scripts that can be used to extract Instagram data, and in an upcoming OSINT Workflow article, I will provide a step-by-step guide on how Digital Investigators and OSINT practitioners can extract and visualise Instagram user followers – stay tuned! For now, we will take a close look at ‘Instahunter’, a Python-based script that we can use to extract Instagram user data.

Downloading and deploying Instahunter is incredibly easy, what I personally like about this tool is that there is no requirement to create a Sock Puppet account in order to use the tool. I should add that whilst Instahunter is quite effective, it only works with public profiles. As is to be expected, gaining user and post data from private profiles will require the use of a Sock Puppet and for the target to accept any request to connect. Our last OSINT Workflow article discusses the effective use of Sock Puppets in this regard.

Instahunter works by extracting posts and user data from Instagram’s frontend API in JSON or text format. In it’s current form, Instahunter provides the following key capabilities:

  • Fetch latest or top public posts with a hashtag
  • Fetch public user data with a username
  • Fetch recent public posts of a user with a username
  • Search for users on Instagram

As I have already pointed out, Instahunter is a very easy tool to deploy through Python, it does exactly what it says, and enables you to quickly and efficiently extract data from public Instagram profiles. Unfortunately, it does not provide the capability to scrape media from public Instagram profiles. However, in an upcoming OSINT Tool Review, we will look at a tool that can be used in this regard.

To sum up, Instahunter does what it says, it produces results and can save you time in the event that you need to extract data from a public Instagram account.


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