Facebook is entering a tough transition period where it won’t take chances around data privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, CTO Mike Schroepfer tells TechCrunch. That’s why it’s significantly limiting data available from or requiring approval for access to its Events, Groups, and Pages APIs plus Facebook Login. It’s also shutting down search by email or user name and changing its account recovery system after discovering malicious actors were using these to scrape people’s data.
Meanwhile, Instagram will immediately shut down its old platform API that was scheduled for deprecation on July 31st. TechCrunch first reported that developers’ Instagram apps were breaking over the weekend due to a sudden reduction in the API call limit. Instagram refused to comment, leading to developer frustration as their apps that analyze people’s followers and help them grow their audiences stopped working.
Now an Instagram spokesperson tells TechCrunch that “Effective today, Instagram is speeding up the previously announced deprecation of the Instagram API Platform” as part of Facebook’s work to protect people’s data. 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.
The announcements come alongside Facebook’s admission that up to 87 million users had their data improperly attained by Cambridge Analytica, up from early estimates of 50 million. These users will see a warning atop their News Feed about what happened, what they should do, and see surfaced options for removing other apps they gave permissions to. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to take questions about today’s announcements during at 1:30pm Pacific conference call.
Regarding the Facebook APIs, here’s the abbreviated version of the changes: