Studying Facebook and Instagram data: The Digital Footprints software

Anja Bechmann, Peter Bjerregaard Vahlstrup


The aim of this article is to discuss methodological implications and challenges in different kinds of deep and big data studies of Facebook and Instagram through methods involving the use of Application Programming Interface (API) data. This article describes and discusses Digital Footprints (, a data extraction and analytics software that allows researchers to extract user data from Facebook and Instagram data sources; public streams as well as private data with user consent. Based on insights from the software design process and data driven studies the article argues for three main challenges: Data quality, data access and analysis, and legal and ethical considerations.


API, social media, digital social sciences, digital humanities

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