Facebook is entering a tough transition period where it won’t take chances around data privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. That’s why it’s moving up the shut down of part of the Instagram API. It’s significantly limiting data available from or requiring approval for access to Facebook’s Events, Groups, and Pages APIs plus Facebook Login. Facebook is also shutting down search by email or username and changing its account recovery system after discovering malicious actors were using these to scrape people’s data. “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way” Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer writes.
Instagram will immediately shut down part of its old platform API that was scheduled for deprecation on July 31st. Instagram refused to comment, leading to developer frustration as their apps that analyze people’s followers and help them grow their audiences stopped working. This means if you are using a third-party product, app or connection to post to your Instagram – there is a good chance it no longer works as of today. Several social media sites report hundreds of posts about people’s Instagram accounts not loading today. Here are some details released by Instagram today.
The APIs for follower lists, relationships, and commenting on public content will cease to function immediately. The December 11th, 2018 deprecation of public content reading APIs and the 2020 deprecation of basic profile info APIs will happen as scheduled, but it’s implemented rate limit reductions on them now.
There are changes at Facebook as well. Chief among them is the function that allows Search by phone number or email will no longer work, as Facebook says it discovered malicious actors were using them to pair one piece of information with someone’s identity. Of all the changes, this may be the most damaging to the user experience.
There is a lot more information on the overall impact on users in the next 24 hours. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest information.
For a detailed (very technical) description of what happened today go to TechCrunch.