IG Follower Export Tool: Extracting Instagram follower and following lists
Following on from our previous review of a highly effective Google Chrome extension that can extract Facebook friend lists alongside a wide array of data of intelligence value, this latest OSINT Tool Review will focus on a similar tool that can be deployed against public Instagram profiles. IG Follower Export is one of several Google Chrome extensions that provides Digital Investigators with the capability to extract information from public Instagram profiles. The extracted data can be used in a variety of ways, though it can undoubtedly be used within a data visualisation interface such as Paliscope YOSE.
The extension’s developers indicate on the Google Chrome Web Store that it provides a range of capabilities including:
- Export followers lists to CSV
- Export following lists to CSV
- Extract user profile data including follower and following count, biography and public Email
- Verify whether follower and following users are verified
As is normally the case when dealing with private profiles, the extension can be used to extract information from such profiles provided that the sock puppet account used with the extension is connected with the target. Therefore, the use of an effective Sock Puppet is certainly recommended for Digital Investigators that require the capability to extract data from private Instagram profiles – a very useful guide can be viewed here.
Using the extension was somewhat effective. In terms of main output – namely follower and following lists – the extension was capable of extracting this type of data from Instagram profiles. However, a word of warning, the tool has no real mechanism to avoid being detected by Instagram’s security features; this means that if you are extracting data from more than a couple of profiles, it is very likely that Instagram will detect suspicious behaviour and lock your account. During our tests of the extension, our Sock Puppet was locked out on several occasions. On each occasion, the extension would display a ‘time-out error’. At first glance, it appeared as though there was a glitch in the extension itself. However, the source code showed that the error was attributed to profile lock-outs instead.
All in all, IG Follower Export Tool provided some very useful outputs that were subsequently processed through Paliscope YOSE in order to produce quality visual intelligence. The extension itself is not packed with features when compared to other social media data extraction tools such as DumpItBlue+. That aside, IG Follower Export Tool is let down by the enhanced security features that exist on Instagram; these security features have undoubtedly been developed very comprehensively to an extent that Digital Investigations on Instagram has become very difficult indeed.