Facebook’s newsroom page does NOT want to load for me – the loading circle thingie just spins and spins in Chrome – so I can’t read the company’s statement about why its Instagram wing made abrupt changes to its API yesterday that broke the functionality on a lot of third-party Instagram applications, including social media visualizations for digital signs.
It is a problem for Tint, and based on a tweet up this morning, for the digital signage industry’s most subscribed content feed service, Screenfeed. My guess is several companies have developers guzzling coffee and going cross-eyed today, while others have it sorted out.
We've updated the Screenfeed Social Apps dashboard to meet the updated Instagram API limitations. The large majority of our Social App feeds were not effected and customers who are effected are being notified.
— Screenfeed Content (@Screenfeed) April 5, 2018
Thanks for showcasing our wall but our wall works just fine!?
— The Wallrus (@tweetthewallrus) April 5, 2018
Along with multiple privacy-related API changes being made to Facebook, Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced that it has disabled several Instagram Platform APIs as of today, disabling certain Instagram features that are available in third-party Instagram apps.
Third-party Instagram apps will no longer be able to use APIs that provide access to follower lists, likes, relationships, and public comments.
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.
In the future, other APIs will be disabled. Starting on December 11, 2018, Instagram will no longer allow apps to read public content, and in early 2020, apps will not be able to read a user’s own profile info and media. These APIs are all part of Instagram’s older platform, and it has already been working towards transferring developers to a newer, more restrictive platform.
As TechCrunch points out, Instagram had originally planned on deprecating the APIs in July and December of 2018, but suddenly moved the timetable forward in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. While the remaining APIs won’t be disabled fully until 2020, Instagram has implemented rate limit reductions on them as of last weekend to limit access.
Instagram previously allowed 5,000 API calls per user per hour, a number that has been cut down to 200.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.