Facebook and Instagram OSINT: Identifying and extracting social media data
There is an abundance of OSINT Tools that are focused exclusively on Facebook and Instagram; however, their capabilities are generally quite varied. In our more recent articles, we looked closely at browser extensions including ‘DumpItBlue+‘ and ‘IG Follower Export Tool‘, each provided an effective capability for Digital Investigators and OSINT Analysts to obtain a good amount of data from Facebook and Instagram respectively. In this OSINT Tool Review, we look at another browser extension – ‘Facebook and Instagram OSINT’ – a lightweight Mozilla Firefox-based add-on that is designed to work against Facebook and Instagram profiles.
The add-on itself is very simple to use and comes with clear instructions with regards to how it can be used against Facebook and Instagram profiles. According to the Mozilla Firefox add-on repository, it has the following features / capabilities:
- Copy current Facebook ID to the clipboard
- Get any Facebook ID
- Get mutual friends between two accounts
- Inject ID directly into the webpage
- Get Instagram ID
- Get public email and phone number
- Get obfuscated email and phone number
- Inject user information directly into the webpage
During our test, we found that the add-on does lack the punch that we have found with other plugins such as ‘DumpItBlue+‘ and ‘IG Follower Export Tool‘. However, what we do like about this add-on is its capability to let investigators easily view mutual connections that exist between two Facebook profiles. At this point, we should make it clear that this feature only works either on public Facebook profiles, or profiles that are directly connected to the investigator’s sock puppet account. At the same time, identifying Facebook user ID’s can be somewhat of a long-winded task for investigators – especially when target profiles have their own custom URL. However, this tool certainly makes it much easier for investigators to identify and extract Facebook user ID’s.
To conclude, ‘Facebook and Instagram OSINT’ is a neat browser extension that provides investigators with a few useful capabilities that can be used to enhance social media investigations and identify relationships between two Facebook user profiles. This add-on can easily be used alongside other tools such Instant Data Scraper and Gephi – allowing investigators to extract data from Facebook and graphically visualise relationships. At the same time, its ability to extract data from Instagram certainly places it on par with some comparable browser extensions, enabling investigators to obtain data that may well be of investigative significance. All-in-all, ‘Facebook and Instagram OSINT’ is a useful tool that can certainly add value in the context of a social media-based investigation.