Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Announce Major Changes for 3rd Party App Use

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

One of the issues that prevents business owners of taking advantage of social media marketing is the significant amount of time it takes to maintain a consistent social media presence. This is why many companies use third party systems that let them post to multiple accounts at once or schedule such posts in advance. However, to curb abuse of social media to spread misinformation, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all recently announced changes to their platform that will affect businesses who use their platforms.

The biggest and most recent changes come from Facebook and Instagram. As most people are aware, Facebook is getting grilled by countries around the world for what many perceive to be lax safeguards on customer data. Since much of the trouble facing Facebook is the result of app developers misusing data from the Facebook API, Facebook has announced tighter controls on apps and restricted features while other adjustments are made.

In a post on their Developer’s Blog on April 4th, Facebook wrote, “As we begin enhancing our new app review process and make changes to our platform, the Events, Groups, Pages and Instagram APIs will no longer be available to new developers. Testing of our more robust process starts today and the new process should resume in a few weeks, but apps currently accessing Events and Groups APIs will lose access today. Going forward, access to these APIs will require a formal app review and for apps using the Pages API, submission is required within 90 days once app review resumes or access will be removed.”

Instagram also announced the immediate deprecation of several elements from the Instagram API. Features such as using API to get information on followers and relationships, the ability to comment on public content, search users and more have all been removed. Further changes are coming, with the ability to read public content from a third party app set to be removed by the end of the year.

To see what this means in practical terms, consider this passage from Hootsuite’s blog post about the changes:

“The following is a list of some of the Hootsuite functionality impacted by the recent Facebook and Instagram API changes:

Several weeks ago, something similar happened to people who use posting software on Twitter. Users are no longer allowed to post duplicate content to multiple Twitter accounts at the same time. This is designed to prevent people from inflating their engagement by using multiple accounts and bots to spread content. It also forbade users from utilizing systems that liked or simultaneously retweeted to multiple accounts at once.

This can be frustrating for anyone who uses multiple Twitter accounts for legitimate reasons. For example, a small business owner can have a personal account and another for their business that they wish to post the same content to.

While the new rule may sound onerous, it’s easy to bypass at the moment. Functionally, it just means that the duplicate content has to be scheduled individually. To illustrate, you can’t write a post and tell Hootsuite to post content the content to two Twitter profiles at 11:45 a.m. However, if you schedule it for one account at 11:45 a.m., then use the same content in another post for the other channel, also scheduled at 11:45 a.m.

So for Twitter, nothing has really changed, it’s just added an extra step for people who want to schedule duplicate content for multiple channels. That said, if the issue of people using duplicate accounts to spread misinformation continues, Twitter may resort to stronger tactics in the future. For now, just be aware that scheduling Twitter content for multiple accounts will take a little longer.

For the most part, these changes won’t dramatically affect businesses who are using social media legitimately. However,  it may make some of the more popular third-party platforms less useful.

For more recent news about social media marketing, read this article on the best posting times for each social media platform.

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