Scraping Instagram comments can be helpful for better understanding how an audience is engagement with your content - or content from clients, competitors, or any other Instagram account you may be interested in.
Despite how useful these comments can be for influencers, marketers & researchers, Instagram prohibits the automated scraping of their data, making collecting the raw comment data tricky.
While there are automated browser extensions that promise to scrape Instagram data for you, these nearly all violate the Instagram Terms of Service, which prohibit automated access to Instagram or the scraping of its data through the website. Using these unofficial tools will often leave footprints behind that Instagram can detect and then ban and block your account.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to use a completely safe approach that uses a recording of your network traffic to Instagram for collecting comments from Instagram posts. Check out the video or read on to learn more:
Open up Instagram in your web browser, then navigate to the post you want to scrape the comments of. Click on the post and you’ll see the comments to the right of the post.
On your web browser (we’ll assume you’re using Google Chrome, but these instructions should be similar for any browser), right click anywhere on the page and hit
Inspect to open up developer tools (this will allow you to record your web traffic as Instagram serves back the comments). You can then click on the “Network” tab to see your web traffic with the data in it.
You may now want to refresh the page (now that you’re recording your web traffic), so you get the initial set of comments.
Move your mouse over the first few comments (these should be the most recent, or “top” comments depending on what scandal Instagram is trying to suppress at the moment), then scroll down to load more and more comments. Your browser will be recording the raw data as you do this, so keep scrolling until you get to the end or you get tired of seeing spambot comments.
Once you’re done scrolling, look for a download arrow in your browser’s developer tools (Network Tab) that’s labeled something along the lines of “Export HAR…” Click this and save the HAR file somewhere you can access quickly, like your Desktop:
Now that we have the data inside this large file, the trick is to get the data out of this file. For this, we suggest using our HAR File Web Scraper where you can upload the file here, and the software will parse everything out for you and group together all the different requests with the comments in it:
You can click the disk icon next to each of the requests to download the data for free, or scroll up and click the “Parse Group” button (above all the individual responses) to download a combined CSV file with the comments in it (note this is a paid feature):
You can see that the HAR File Scraper combined all of the individual requests into a combined list that you can now download as a single CSV file.