sites like brandwatch.com and various other analytic sites crawl Instagram?

Instagram says in their terms and conditions:

We prohibit crawling, scraping, caching or otherwise accessing any content on the Service via automated means, including but not limited to, user profiles and photos (except as may be the result of standard search engine protocols or technologies used by a search engine with Instagram's express consent).

  • Have you considered that they may have a different negotiated agreement with Instagram? – Dale M Nov 9 '17 at 9:48
  • @DaleMI can confirm that I have spoken to someone at a company that's been around for awhile and they said they didn't get any written consent from Instagram and consider themselves a search engine. – joeyk16 Nov 9 '17 at 9:55
  • 2
    They just have not yet caused Instagram enough trouble to be bothered about. Once they have caused enough trouble, Instagram will "take care" of them. – Greendrake Nov 9 '17 at 10:00

Instagram's API has a developer program. This program has certain policies that developers need to abide by.

Platform Policy

Before you start using the API Platform, we have a few guidelines that we'd like to tell you about. Please make sure to read the full Platform Policy. Here's what you'll read about:

  1. Instagram users own their media. It's your responsibility to make sure that you respect that right.
  2. You cannot use "insta", "gram" or "Instagram" in your company or product name.
  3. You cannot replicate the core user experience of the Instagram apps or web site. For example, do not build a media viewer.
  4. You cannot use the API Platform to crawl or store users' media without their express consent.
  5. Do not abuse the API Platform, automate requests, or encourage unauthentic behavior. This will get your access turned off.

Some of the metrics from user's Instagram accounts don't count against #4 of their platform policy. For example, If you goto https://www.instagram.com/developer/endpoints/users/ in the documentation. You will see certain endpoints have scopes.

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These scopes are the permissions apps would need to request from users in order to access that endpoint. Some are public, and some are not. Likely, the metrics which brandwatch gather are either outside the scope of the permissions required from other users, OR they've been grandfathered in before changes to certain policies which restrict crawling user pages freely.

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