How the latest Facebook API changes will affect you

How the latest Facebook API changes will affect you


The social media world has been abuzz with news of Facebook dramas since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a third-party data firm managed to collect personal information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission. Oops! As a result, facebook has responded with many changes to their APIs in an effort to protect your data and privacy. 

Facebook is aggressively cutting down on the amount of personal data third-party developers can collect from users. The changes are broad (read all the details on Facebook’s blog), but the in a nutshell Facebook will limit the types of data available through each API so that third party apps don't see so much of our private info. Which seems fair right?

Here are a few of the changes being made to the Facebook API and how they will affect you.

Tougher security for third party apps

It's becoming a bit like an episode of Border Security at Facebook. The changes mean that Facebook will now need to approve every app that uses its login feature to collect information beyond basic profile data, like a user’s name and email. Facebook will also stop apps from asking about ideological information, like a user’s religious or political views.

Closing of Instagram API

Facebook is closing its Instagram Platform API much sooner than originally anticipated.  This was supposed to gradually happen over the next few years. This means that many of your third party apps used for scheduling posts and monitoring follower activity have been affected and may even stop working.

The good news is that this means bots are officially dead,  the bad news is that you 'likes' will most likely go down, but on the plus side again all of the likes you'll be getting will actually be real! 

If you’re using third party apps to analyse your Instagram followers, or spy on someone else’s followers, these apps will no longer work. So you will no longe be able to see who has unfollowed you. 

Changes to search

You will not be able to search for people on Facebook using their email or phone number anymore. Facebook says “malicious actors” were abusing that feature, so it’s disabling it.

New alerts

Facebook will start alerting users that their data may have been part of the Cambridge Analytica data set. The company will also put a link at the top of every Facebook user’s News Feed to help them understand which third-party apps have their data. That alert will also include whether or not your data was part of the set obtained by Cambridge Analytica.

These changes are sure to make a huge impact on Facebook’s relationship with third-party developers, as many developers rely on Facebook APIs to sign up new users, or scale their own audience by asking people to share their Facebook friends list.  I will be interested to see how this all pans out at the company’s annual developer conference, F8 to be held in the first week of May.



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