ICPSR to facilitate researcher access to Meta’s API Products





ANN ARBOR–Meta Content Library API, used by researchers to analyze real-time public-facing data from Facebook and Instagram, is now integrated with the Social Media Archive (SOMAR) at ICPSR.  

Meta Content Library is accessible through two interfaces: a graphical user interface and a programmatic API. The library includes content from pages, posts, groups and events on Facebook, as well as publicly available content from creator and business accounts on Instagram. 

Since Meta unveiled its new Content Library and API in August, a small group of eligible researchers has been beta testing the tools, which are now open to the wider community to apply for access and begin to explore. Both tools use the same database of near-real-time public content from Facebook and Instagram. 

Here are four things to know about Meta Content Library and ICPSR’s role in provisioning access to the tools 


1. ICPSR is vetting applications for researcher access.

Researchers affiliated with a qualified institution are eligible to access these tools. Applications to access these products will undergo an independent review process overseen by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), part of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (ISR). All applications for MCL access must go through ICPSR. Then, ICPSR will provide users access to Meta Content Library API, while Meta provides access to the Meta Content Library User Interface. “We’re committed to supporting a broad range of researchers through our MCL API integration. SOMAR encourages researchers to apply even if they’re relatively new to R or Python. We’ll be hosting webinars and workshops to help researchers access this valuable resource and to learn about what else they need to do their work,” said Libby Hemphill, SOMAR Director.  


2. Data pulled from the API can be analyzed in the Social Media Archive’s (SOMAR) Virtual Data Enclave (VDE).

SOMAR’s VDE provides advanced options for data analysis and other research services, including: 

  • Access to R and Python; Stata available upon request
  • Increase in CPU and GPU available upon request
  • Services to export research output out of the secure VDE available by request, with applicable output reviews done by ICPSR staff


3. Many content types and new metrics to explore

The Content Library includes data from public posts, pages, groups, and events on Facebook. For Instagram, it includes public posts and content from creator and business accounts. This also includes reels and post views. “Researchers often ask if we have exposure data, and the Content Library does provide view counts. This means researchers will know how many potential interactions occurred, for instance, and can compare between posts,” said Hemphill.


4. Upcoming info session

ICPSR plans to host a webinar during or close to International Love Data Week (Feb. 14-16, 2024). Registration will be required. We encourage you to sign up for SOMAR updates to receive announcements about the webinar and other news related to SOMAR.


More information:




Contact: Dory Knight-Ingram

Nov 21, 2023

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