Broken Apps as Instagram Cuts Out Developers

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Last updated on April 8th, 2018 at 08:42 pm

instagram api changes

Have you heard of the changes to Instagram that were supposed to be happening in July? Well, July is here much sooner than we thought. In light of the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data scandal that happened last week, Instagram has sped up their changes to become effective immediately. This has caused chaos in the Insta-world especially for developers who, with no warning from Instagram, now find that their apps which pull data from Instagram to track analytics, followers, engagement and more do not work any longer. Some of us received this email from Instagram today:

To continuously improve Instagram users’ privacy and security, we are accelerating the deprecation of Instagram API Platform, making the following changes effective immediately. We understand that this may affect your business or services, and we appreciate your support in keeping our platform secure.

The following capabilities will be disabled immediately (previously set for July 31, 2018 or December 11, 2018 deprecation):

Follower List – to read the list of followers and followed-by users
Relationships – to follow and unfollow accounts on a user’s behalf
Commenting on Public Content – to post and delete comments on a user’s behalf on public media
Likes – to like and unlike media on a user’s behalf
Subscriptions – to receive notifications when media is posted
Users Information – to search for and view users’ public content
Some information on Public Content returned through hashtag and location search – Name, Bio, Comments, Commenters, Follower Count, Following Count, Post Count, and Profile Picture

Instagram API Changes – What Does This Mean?

Many 3rd party apps which users download to see vital statistics such as who unfollowed them and account engagement rates are now defunct or dead. (Instagram partners Iconosquare, Later, Planoly, etc have until the end of April to comply with requirements) Developers use Instagram’s API to collect data from Instagram to provide analytics through a web or mobile app that people usually sign up for or download to analyze their metrics and optimize their accounts. It appears that Instagram has severely limited the amount of data that third-party applications can pull, even denying access completely to some. Without warning means that developers didn’t have a chance to update their apps to comply with these changes.

Though Instagram has refused to comment, Recode reports:

On Friday, Instagram suddenly changed the rate limit for its Platform API — essentially decreasing the number of times a developer can use the API to ping Instagram for updated information, according to conversations with multiple developers.

The rate limit for Instagram’s Platform API was 5,000 calls per hour, but was suddenly reduced to 200 calls per hour on Friday, sources say.

It seems like with this surprising overreaction, Instagram with its much lower user base is being used as the testing field to see how parent company Facebook can more effectively protect user data from outsiders who use and abuse the information they collect.

Related: Are Instagram Pods Helping or Hurting Your Engagement?


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