Instagram had previously published a deprecation schedule for these endpoints, and threw that schedule out the window without notifying even Instagram Partners.
Edit to add: these endpoints are all related to the profile data and behaviors of non-oauthed users. This is the exact data that ML researchers (myself included) would normally use to analyze social graph behavior, interests, and audiences of Instagram users, and also is exactly the type of processing activity that GDPR restricts by requiring explicit and revocable consent. I see the abrupt retirement of these endpoints as a reaction to the pressure FB is facing as of late. This is a positive for personal privacy and will reduce the potential for abuse, however many types of legitimate and responsible businesses will be affected as well.
Their change log reads "deprecated immediately" which is silly, but should be read as "we don't know what 'deprecated' means and are retiring these APIs immediately."
What's worse is, we can't even migrate to the Instagram Graph API, as Facebook has:
1. Temporarily stopped app reviews, so there's no way for us to go live with our Instagram Permissions on FB Graph API.
2. Blocked access to the Instagram Graph API, even for our development and staging apps.
So they expect us to migrate to the new Graph API, but there's no way to do it since we can't even develop and test the API given that access is blocked.
This also comes on the heels of IG dialing down their API limits from ~5000 per hour to 200 per hour , which is ridiculously low. If my app has 20 IG accounts connected to it, each account can only hit 10 per hour. Crippling.
Honestly, do they want people to build scrapers using sets of IP addresses?
No. They are allocating their money where their business is. The idea of "ecosystems" with 3rd party integrations has been shot down nearly everywhere - all the "big tech companies" have one thing in common: they want people to be locked in their environment as long as possible by any means neccessary and legal, as this is where the tasty ad revenue comes from.
A 3rd party Twitter client, for example, cannot show ads (and, so, generate no revenue for Twitter). Therefore, it is perfectly logical that Twitter makes their API as bad as possible for 3rd party clients (e.g. no polls, images in DMs, group DMs).
Content producers, on the other hand, are the ones who are making your platform more attractive to your content consumers. You want to make it as easy as possible to put high-quality content on your platform, and a key component of ease of access / publishing is a powerful API.
Developers have. But unfortunately, most that the users (aka our customers) want is a place where they can share cat videos, have instant communication with friends and (distant) relatives and, depending on allegiance, Trump or Clinton memes in peace. There are only two things that can not be done on the social networks: gambling and porn. Everything other has been slowly absorbed, especially by Facebook.
Also: when you're working 10+ hours a day or more, you most often don't have time to maintain your own blog, much less a full blown web server. There's the reason why Instagram, FB and Twitter are so damn successful: they're essentially frictionless after the sign-up process.
Do they make more money when someone fires up the IG app and watches ads, or a third party tool sucks data out and displays it elsewhere?
The developer API is not the product.
I really enjoy Instagram the app to post photos of my travels but as the years go by it's feeling more and more locked down. I'm not really sure what the alternatives are, Flickr?
The I just need an app to make it easy to post. Instagram is the best I've found for that.
I mean, sure. But every day these are open is another day that something dangerous could happen. Letting people use these APIs would only be responsible if there was a guarantee that everyone using the APIs was acting in good faith and could adequately defend against data breaches at Facebook's level, on their own. The latter was never really true and the former has been blown apart by the CA scandal, so good riddance.
Yeah, it's almost as if HN was a plurality of diverse individuals with different needs and opinions and not a single entity with a single opinion on everything. Who would have thought?
So basically Facebook's data monopoly just got stronger. Am I missing something?
However, make it somewhat difficult/scary to do this, so that a personality quiz app won't be able to successfully trick you into agreeing to it.
(Though I think they were really _just_ the photos without the other data like your stories, drafts, comments, followers and followings graph, etc.)
Perhaps locking it down puts pressure on IG to provide an official solution since others can't.
Or... one could write some code to run a headless browser and scrape everything that can be loaded on desktop.
Does anyone know of any kind of community effort to democratize social data? e.g. ideal product: API-ified dashboard where I can view all my FB friends, IG followers, Twitter followers as well as every single piece of content (tweets, photos, etc) that I have permission to view on each respective platform. Standardized in a public format, live updated, and consumable by other apps (if permitted by those apps' users).
Super technically challenging (given that much of this data would be inaccessible without well-maintained brittle web scraping bots), but seems technically possible.
But I guess such an effort could run into the same scrutiny as the reasons IG shut down these endpoints... :\
(Not sure if this is related to the Cambridge Analytica situation. Maybe the timeline was sped up, but IG's APIs have been deprecating for the past 2-3 years now.)
For those reasons, I absolutely believe it was related to the Cambridge Analytica situation.
Instagram == Facebook.
Facebook is being hit left and right for giving away too much user data (which I agree with).
Facebook takes steps and decides to close its data doors immediately.
People complaint about the doors being closed.
Facebook have an API to export data - team privacy are loudly outraged, team data-portability are quietly happy.
Facebook lock down their APIs - team privacy are quietly happy, team data-portability are loudly outraged.
The end result being that no matter what happens, there will be a fairly consistent supply of outrage - the only question is do you want it from one side, the other side, or a bit of both?
Were developers notified at all this was going to happen?
Purely speculating--but I bet they discovered that their APIs were open for privacy abuse, and rather than just disable the abusing accounts, they shut down the APIs until they can be fixed.
I also believe this is a reaction to all the recent privacy issues that Facebook is facing. They identified Instagram as a huge risk for behavioral mining (it is) and abruptly shut down all features that can be used to analyze behavior and infringe on privacy at a large scale.
The application felt like I was begging. Not something I'd ever do again.
- All software above the OS layer is built on someone else's platform.
- All websites unless hosted on your own servers are built on someone elses platform, most likely using libraries built by someone else, on someone elses platform.
- All websites run in a browser which you don't own.
You build a business that 100% depends on facebook. Facebook is a commercial company. At any point they can shut it down, and you are back to 0. Bad.
You build a website that depends on "a browser". There are at least 4 popular browsers desktop browsers, with several variations on mobile and more exotic browsers. All 4 are run by different companies. For most websites you would still function if even 3 of the 4 major browsers were shut down. Furthermore, desktop software is downloaded and cannot just vanish (let's ignore app store and that kind of magic, as not all browsers come in like that).
So I think you just proved the point on writing a "website" is a safer bet then writing a "tool for facebook"
For Firefox to block your website/web app they may have to force an update on the millions of browsers out there, which is not equally easy. If your hosting company shuts you down, you move to another (hopefully you had backups). If Google stops supporting Angular maybe you move to React. If Apple removes you from the appstore and people really want your app, maybe they may find ways to download. If Instagram says "no more access to our users from your app," well your app just became useless if it depended solely on Insta.
Not everything is black and white.
Agree with quite a few comments here. The most profound one was an observation I made too: FB is effectively strengthening its monopoly by using the Cambridge debacle. Feels very much like post financial crisis behavior of the too big to fail banks (I worked for one).
But perhaps more importantly: Are "Instagram" partners actually affected? Beasts like Salesforce.com and Oracle consume huge amounts of data. There are dozens that consume audience data etc. Pretty sure that they are paying license fees to continue to operate with much more sensible API permissions and limits.
I suspect with GDPR coming one might show up sometime soon though.
In the meantime I've been using instalooter (https://github.com/althonos/InstaLooter) along with some of my own scripts.
Instagram's gone from a place where I posted the odd picture to a serious attempt to document my life (mostly to be consumed by myself). Throughout last year I became increasingly nervous about not having access to all the data!
This isn't an entirely bad thing.
Considering the number of fires this is going to cause, application-wise...yikes.
Facebook owns Instagram.
Have you heard about Facebook's issues in the national news recently?
I'd suggest changing the name of this submission to:
Instagram abruptly deprecates a majority of its API before plan
As this is the real story. The current title is a bit misleading. Good discussion none the less.
"Deprecate" means that you've marked something for removal at some point in the future. From the other comments here, it seems that the endpoints have been abruptly shut down, effective immediately.