Finding user's social media IDs without an SDK

If you are a developer and work with social media, there is most surely a task you’ve faced. A simple task that should be easy but requires either to set up an SDK with OAuth tokens and so on, or use web services like findmyfbid. Exactly, the task is as simple as finding a user id from a social media username.

There are several reasons for what you would want to store this ID, being the main one its uniqueness. Whatever the reason it is, maybe that is the only interaction you want with the social network in that moment/service. If so, setting up SDKs with all the authentication process etc, may seem a bit like “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

Inspecting the html source of the main social media profiles, i.e Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I realized that in all of them, the user ID is embedded in some part in the html source. All I had to do is find a couple of regexes to mach those parts and.. voilà!

social_ids is a package I wrote to help precisely with this. No need to set SDKs, tokens or any configuration. You don’t even need to write a line of code if you don’t want to, since it has a CLI. Install with pip install social_ids

As CLI tool

Quite simple:

~> socialid --help

  --help  Show this message and exit.

An example

~> socialid twitter guillemch
ID for twitter handler "guillemch" is: 379637011

As a package to import in your code

Simple as well

# Import the networks you want
from social_ids.networks import facebook

# Then use the get_id method with the handler
_id = facebook.get_id('zuck')


Right now social_ids works with:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Of course it’s open source, tested, MIT licensed and released to PyPi. If you want to add a social network to it, feel free to submit a Pull Request and I’ll have a look :smile:.

Hope its useful for more people! If it was, I’d be happy if you share this post and give the project a star on GitHub. Or just enjoy it!

Guillermo Carrasco

In automation, we trust.