Facebook Abruptly Limits Third-Party Instagram API Usage


Facebook seems to be in something of a bind with third-party developers who had been making use of its Instagram API to bring certain functionality to their applications. Complaints were first noticed on Stack Overflow on March 31, with a question posted by a developer posting under the handle "NarayaN." He asks whether anybody knows why the hourly API request limit was adjusted from 5,000 to 200 per user and whether or not official partners have experienced the same change. The message goes on to indicate that the previously posted documentation pages for the policy on limits no redirects to a broken link error. Comments responding to the question share what seems to be a similar experience, where developers are seeing an error when their app exceeds 200 requests per hour. That seems to imply that Facebook's subsidiary didn't notify anybody of any incoming changes to the API usage policies.

Perhaps worse still, when another user did post a link to an explanation of the updated terms of limits, some use circumstances are limited even further. Specifically, the documentation defines an exception to the limits with the statement that "/media/comments edge limits writes to 60 writes per user per hour." Users on related threads have noted that the API is actually scheduled for "stages of deprecation" but that wasn't expected to begin until later on in the year. That means that changes such as this could have already been planned but they seem to be happening at an accelerated pace. As a result, many developers were not prepared for the updated policy and are understandably not very happy about it. Plenty of apps depend on the API for social features and those that pull directly from an Instagram feed require far more requests. In the meantime, Instagram has reportedly not responded to questions about the matter from developers or reporting agencies.

The change in policy updates is thought to be a part of Facebook's attempt to contain damage from the investigations it is currently under. Those allege, and the company's CEO has all but admitted, that the company was allowing third-parties to misappropriate and misuse data from the social network's users. In the majority of cases, users weren't even aware that their data was being collected. Whether or not the acceleration is actually a result of that is something the company still hasn't affirmed or refuted.

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Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]

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