Instagram Institutes API Changes That Will Kill Off Malicious Third-Party Apps
Following the recent discovery that malicious app InstaAgent was stealing Instagram passwords from users, Instagram has instituted much stricter rules for accessing its API, effectively killing off a large number of apps that read Instagram feeds.
In a notice posted today on its developer site, Instagram explains it will no longer permit apps that access the Instagram feed API, as that API is being shut down. In the future, third-party Instagram apps will have much more limited capabilities.
We've updated our Platform Policy to explicitly list the use cases we will support moving forward. These include apps and services that:
Help individuals share their own content with 3rd party apps, such as apps that let you print your photos and import an Instagram photo as a profile picture.
Help brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience, develop their content strategy, and get digital rights to media. Established apps in this space may apply for our newly announced Instagram Partner Program.
Help broadcasters and publishers discover content, get digital rights to media, and share media using web embeds.
Starting today, Instagram is instituting a new review process and preventing new apps from using its APIs until it starts conducting reviews on December 3. Existing apps have until June 1, 2016 to comply with Instagram's new platform rules, and the users/self/feed and media/popular API endpoints will be available until the end of the review period. Instagram is also launching a new Sandbox Mode to allow developers to privately build and test apps using Instagram's APIs.
Instagram's new policy will put an end to dozens of questionable third-party Instagram apps that promised users new followers and the ability to track follows and unfollows. Apps are no longer able to use "like," "share," "comment," or "follower" exchange programs nor can they use follower information for "anything other than analytics" without Instagram's permission.
Unfortunately, as no apps will be able to access the full Instagram feed, it will also have an impact on legitimate Instagram clients for the iPad and the Mac, where Instagram is not natively available. As TechCrunch points out, this will affect apps like Retro, Flow, Padgram, Webstagram, Instagreat, and more.
With today's changes, Instagram says it plans to institute a "more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on the platform" and give users more control over their content.