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Blog post
June 24, 2019

No warning to Facebook & Instagram changes

Developers rush to patch

In the wake of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, there have been a myriad of changes impacting users of Facebook and Instagram content recently. These changes were made without any notice and were effective immediately which has impacted third-party apps worldwide.

Albeit the speed in which the changes have been made is likely to have been partly driven by the pressure to tighten data practices and potentially align certain timing as CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before Congress next week to answer questions about the company’s privacy and data policies.From the perspective of everyday users accessing the content you know and love via the Facebook and Instagram apps will see little to no change. For developers like us on the other hand, the impacts are significant and are only a hint of what is yet to come.In case you missed it, the changes made have been many and impact all third-party apps, whether legitimate or not.

Given the changes have been quick, varied and came without prior notification, we’ve pulled together a quick summary of a few that left developers and other third-party content users of these content feeds frustrated:

Instagram have removed 17 ways of accessing content

This means something as simple as code to access recent posts of a public company, suddenly stopped working. Quick changes had to be made to use alternative methods.

Facebook & Instagram have removed access to many fields

Fields like how many followers a user has, or how many posts you have made, but many more have gone.

25x drop in Instagram content

The Instagram API restricted the flow of content by 25x, meaning that public posts previously being collected has been reduced significantly, requiring different approaches to be taken that are more efficient.

These are only a few of the changes that have happened with more expect in future. With CTO Mike Schroepfer commenting that they will lock down access, review previously allowed apps, and then hand out access to the apps that deserve it.

While this is promising from the perspective that Facebook is taking action to breath some confidence back into their data practices, it will still be interesting to see how they now start to crack down on third-party apps that are using and abusing content. With the advent of AI and machine learning, the content which appeared innocuous can now be exploited and abused in the wrong hands. That means Facebook is forcing all apps that have previously been approved for accessing Events, Groups and Pages, have to be reviewed again.

For the developers working on these changes behind the scenes, it’s a difficult process but something we monitor constantly to ensure the client experience is supported, and uncompromised. While at times frustrating, it’s also fascinating to watch the complexities of today’s interconnected environment play, shift and unfold.

Ian Young,
Isentia Technical Architect

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With more than 1 billion users on Facebook, and millions more active on sites such as YouTube and Twitter, it has become obvious that social media is an important platform for businesses.

Connecting with the huge variety of consumers already on these sites can open up significant opportunities for marketing and lead generation. Additionally, social media monitoring provides insight and understanding into how your industry, audience and competitors are reacting to market trends and products.

As well as giving businesses and consumers a platform to share their thoughts and participate in ongoing conversations, social media is also a channel through which many people access news stories and important information.

A recent study from Pew Research found that 64 per cent of adults are active on Facebook, and 30 per cent are using the site to receive news. This means that approximately half of the people using Facebook trust the site to deliver their news.

Similarly, 16 per cent of US adults are active on Twitter, with exactly half of those (8 per cent) accessing the news through tweets.

Not only are users reading news on social media, but they are also participating in the sharing and telling of stories. Half of all social network users have shared news stories on their own profiles and a further 46 per cent have discussed news on social media.

However, while social networking sites are a popular media through which to access news, Pew Research found that users on these sites spend significantly less time engaging with the news they read.

Readers who visit news stories directly through a provider's website spend an average of 4 minutes and 36 seconds on each page. In comparison, those who arrive through a link on Facebook spend just 1 minute 41 seconds reading the page.

This shows that while news is being shared and read on social media sites, engagement is significantly greater when consumers go out of their way to access the stories.

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Is Social Media A Good Source For News?

With more than 1 billion users on Facebook, and millions more active on sites such as YouTube and Twitter, it has become obvious that social media is an important platform for businesses.

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It’s been a whirlwind year trying to keep up with the various changes made by social media platforms – especially for professional communicators, developers, agencies, and brands.

At the same time as understanding and usage of the term ‘API’ has accelerated across offices worldwide, social media platforms have begun to restrict access to their application programming interfaces (APIs). With implications ranging from global politics to individual user privacy, that trend is showing no signs of stopping.

API changes have been introduced in order to reduce risks around data privacy, security concerns for users and stamping out improper use of user data.

Most of the changes can be categorised as:

  1. How often and how much data can be requested (rate limit reductions); and
  2. Type of data available (restrictions on user-identifiable data)

Generally, these are positive changes for the whole ecosystem. Users can be reassured at an individual level that there are more controls in place and consideration given to matters of privacy and the prevention of misuse. Facebook’s ‘Here Together’ video, released in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data breach, reflects some of this desired messaging and the drives for these changes.

The latest changes have come from Instagram and more are set to be introduced on 11 Dec 2018.

Here's how the changes impact the three types of Instagram analysis:

  • Owned media (for your brands’ own Instagram accounts): Better data on your owned Instagram profiles, but they need to be Instagram business profiles and you have to authenticate to access this data.
  • Public accounts (for other brands or influencer’s channels): This use case no longer exists for Instagram - there is no longer any data available for public Instagram accounts you don't own.
  • Listening: Public hashtag listening on Instagram is no longer supported. Brands will need to move to brand mentions, photo tags and related hashtags.


These may not be the last of the changes, but they are necessary growing pains to regain user trust and provide higher quality authentic engagements. For small businesses and influencers these changes are fairly straightforward - however for those looking to manage communications or marketing strategies they present new challenges in order to stay informed.

These changes apply across the board so all API users will need to jump the same hoops and prove that both privacy measures are met and use of data is acceptable. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the official changes from Instagram read on here.

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Blog
More changes to social media API’s, the latest from Instagram

It’s been a whirlwind year trying to keep up with the various changes made by social media platforms – especially for professional communicators, developers, agencies, and brands.

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The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, as they can significantly influence public perceptions and shape the narrative surrounding key industry players.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicRelations/comments/1aukych/australia_woolies_ceo_interview_mishap/?share_id=S-JDSwqI-UlHg_mIeTlkg&utm_content=2&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_source=share&utm_term=1

It was only the latest in a series of media items to seize Australia’s attention, and cast the nation’s supermarkets into something of a PR and Comms crisis.

And yet, viewing events through this framing also only gives a partial picture. As the discussion surrounding the impact of supermarkets on the rising cost of living intensifies, we've observed a notable surge in the usage of terms such as 'shrinkflation' and 'skimpflation'. Reaching back even further, we can see how the topics attained a gradually greater place on Australian news and social channels. Shrinkflation and skimpflation are tactics employed by supermarkets during economic challenges. Shrinkflation involves reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, subtly passing on costs to consumers. Skimpflation maintains product sizes but compromises on quality to preserve profit margins. These strategies often frustrate supermarket shoppers, especially during economic strains like inflation.

Clearly, the topic has become ubiquitous. But if we want to understand how information and perceptions have been communicated to mainstream Australian audiences, then it becomes vitally important to pay particular attention to broadcast media. 

Broadcast media (which includes television, radio and podcasts)  plays a pivotal role in shaping public discourse and influencing perceptions, particularly on pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis. 

Using Isentia to monitor these data sources, we gain valuable insights into their contribution to consumer attitudes. From identifying which organisations are most associated with the issue to pinpointing key public figures and preferred channels within radio and TV, broadcast media monitoring allows us to understand the complex dynamics that shape public opinion.

It’s the oldest of these media types which accounts for the most mentions of the supermarket crisis. Beyond reporting updates on the senate inquiry and government actions, radio excels in facilitating in-depth conversations between hosts and listeners, which surfaces more individual consumer stories than television or podcasts can match.

ABC's predominant coverage of the topic corresponds with the network's content strategy. Major programs such as the Supermarket Four Corners special and podcasts like The Briefing attract substantial listenership and garner attention from other channels. Channel 7, in addition to delivering key news updates, focuses on the shopper experience within supermarkets, shedding light on everyday challenges faced by audiences, such as navigating shrinkflation and skimpflation tactics.

Understanding the majority share of broadcast channels within this topic is important as it reflects who has the loudest voice, and is most persistently advancing a certain narrative or way of framing the situation. 

Coles and Woolworths dominate the conversation, reflecting their prominent presence in the retail landscape. Their widespread accessibility and familiarity to consumers make them prime subjects for discussion in the context of rising costs and economic pressures. 

Conversely, Aldi and IGA, while still significant players in the grocery market, may receive comparatively less focus in these discussions. Aldi's reputation for offering lower-priced alternatives and IGA's decentralised business model, with independently owned stores, may also contribute to their reduced presence in conversations about supermarket practices during times of economic strain. 

Each channel and network approaches discussions about supermarket groups differently. While Coles and Woolworths understandably dominate each station's broadcasts, the precise balance (and the time afforded to Adi and IGA) is revealing.

For instance, 4BC has encouraged audiences to diversify their shopping habits, with one 4BC broadcaster highlighting that "Aldi and IGA are actually doing more than the other two to really help enormously with the cost of living."

In the discourse on supermarket practices during the cost of living crisis, a number key figures emerge across broadcast channels. Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, is predictably prominent on just about every channel, particularly broadcaster 2SM. 

All of them, that is, apart from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which spotlights Allan Fels, an economist and former ACCC chair who has analysed price gouging by major corporations. Other notable politicians mentioned include Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Craig Emerson, Steven Miles, and David Littleproud. 

Media's focus on these figures is crucial for shaping public discourse and policy responses amid economic pressures. While supermarkets are often discussed as a key antagonist in the cost of living crisis, they are increasingly being viewed in the context of potential solutions, particularly regarding government policy to regulate supermarket giants.

At the same time, focus does not only fall on the prominent individuals driving business decisions and policymaking. Country Hour (NSW), for instance, focused a story on cherry grower Michael Cuneo, who ceased selling to supermarkets after he made a financial loss on a shipment of fruit. And it was this story that achieved the greatest media reach of any radio content on the topic.  

Clearly then, the topic has not played out in any one way across any one channel. The prominence of key figures and top broadcast channels in this conversation underscores the importance of understanding how media coverage impacts public discourse and regulatory decisions. Isentia's broadcast capabilities offer unparalleled insight into the role of broadcast media in shaping the narrative surrounding supermarket practices. By harnessing Isentia's monitoring and analysis tools, organisations can gain deep insights into how influential discourse and coverage can impact an industry. 

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How Australian broadcast media has shaped the cost of living crisis narrative

The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, […]

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The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals, with people facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences. 

What’s driving the cost of living concerns?

A range of factors are driving the cost of living in Australia, with some having more of an impact than others. Using data from our sister company, Pulsar, inflation (as the overarching issue) is gaining the most media coverage as the price of goods and services continues to increase over time.

The top drivers of the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 2023

The chart also shows the rise in energy costs, interest rates, and housing prices (rent and mortgage prices) as other main drivers for cost of living concerns. As energy prices continue to increase, households are feeling the pinch as their expenses soar. And when it comes to housing, whether it's the skyrocketing rent or the burden of increasing mortgage payments, many individuals and families are finding it increasingly challenging to secure affordable accommodation.

Let’s take a closer look at these topics.

Energy fuels the discussion

Energy sources and prices are hot topics in the media, impacting households, affordability, and vulnerable populations. But a troubling discrepancy emerged in the May 2023 Budget: businesses got more attention than households in energy relief measures. Surprisingly, only 13% of media coverage focused on the struggles faced by individuals, while a whopping 29% centered around the politics and policies of Australian businesses. This raises valid concerns about whether the media is truly addressing the needs of Australian communities.

The energy narrative and the cost of living

Sectors feeling the heat of media scrutiny

Media outlets play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing the cost of living. When it comes to specific energy sectors, they have become the subject of intense media scrutiny. Data from our Energy Transition report shows that coal and gas are in the hot seat, with a significant portion of media coverage - 43% for coal and 26% for gas - dedicated to discussing these fossil fuels. This media focus highlights the ongoing conversations surrounding the environmental impact of coal and gas, their contribution to climate change, economic considerations, and the urgent need for policy changes to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Feeling the pinch

The cost of living crisis goes beyond numbers; it’s intertwined with the housing market and interest rates. Escalating housing costs, fueled by rising prices and interest rates, can put immense strain on household budgets, leading to financial stress and widening economic inequality.

But the conversation doesn't stop there. The story behind the data is clear: the cost of living is an issue that affects us all, and the media plays a crucial role in shaping and amplifying the conversation. Google searches and social media activity reflect people’s ongoing concern about the weight of living expenses, especially around RBA announcements. Anxiety emerges as a dominant theme, with a staggering 93% of media coverage highlighting the keyword.

cost of living comparisons
Source: Isentia (print, online, broadcast), Pulsar TRENDS (Twitter), Google Trends, May 1 - July 30 2023

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows living costs have reached an all-time high. Over the past 12 months, all living cost indices have risen between 7.1 percent and 9.6 percent for all households, compared to a 7 percent annual increase in inflation.

The difference largely stems from living cost indices taking into account mortgage interest charges. Housing and interest rates have been the largest contributors to the rise in the cost of living, with home owners feeling the pinch from rising mortgage payments and renters feeling the brunt of it. According to the RBA, the average mortgage size in Australia has increased by 38% in the past decade. According to Pulsar data, unsurprisingly, 84% of Australians are left feeling sad about the cost of living. 

Influential figures shaping the conversation

Data from the Pulsar Platform gives a visual snapshot of how several Australian and foreign individuals and groups are influencing the conversation, including politicians, economists, consumer advocacy groups, and business owners.

who is talking about the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 31 May 2023. Influential people and organisations

Unsurprisingly, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds significant influence when it comes to shaping the cost of living conversation in Australia’s political landscape. As the governing body in Australian Parliament, their policies and initiatives subjectively bear the everyday Australian in mind, aiming to tackle the affordability challenges that many face. The ALP resonates with citizens worried about rising living costs due to its focus on income inequality, social justice, and fair economic policies. But are they doing enough?

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, along with other influential ALP members including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, and Mick de Brenni, are leading the conversation in an effort to alleviate living expenses and promote income growth. Despite their desire to achieve these outcomes, the public outcry on Twitter shows the frustration Australians are feeling. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are in the firing line, with the public urging more action on the cost of living crisis.

Jim chalmers and the cost of living
online sentiment about the cost of living

How media intelligence can help you navigate the cost of living

Advocacy efforts can be significantly enhanced through the use of social listening and media monitoring. These tools allow you to effectively navigate the dynamic narratives surrounding the cost of living. By tailoring your advocacy approach, you can foster a more equitable and sustainable solution that brings positive change to communities and influences public opinion.

Additionally, by staying well-informed about the ongoing public discourse and trending discussions related to the cost of living, you can develop compelling communication strategies that effectively inform and engage your stakeholders.

Curious about how media intelligence can enhance your communication strategies to connect with your audience? Request a demo here, and our expert team will reach out to help you develop your communication strategies.

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Blog
The Story Behind the Data: Navigating the Cost of Living

The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals. Within our shores, people are facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences.

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Get in touch or request a demo.