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:
- How often and how much data can be requested (rate limit reductions); and
- 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.