Instagram Institutes API Changes That Will Kill Off Malicious Third-Party Apps

instagramFollowing 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.

Top Rated Comments

Deelron Avatar
74 months ago
Now make an actual iPad app and it'll be fine.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FWRN Avatar
74 months ago
Kinda sucks but it was much needed. The Instagram feed was crowded with fake likes and followers. Sadly apps like CloudFire will no longer be usable.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMcCoy Avatar
74 months ago
I recently started using Flipboard on my iPad & it's so convenient for reviewing Instagram, Twitter & more.

Will Flipboard no longer have access to my Instagram feed?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sharewaredemon Avatar
74 months ago
It's *FAR* easier to select a the correct picture when scrolling through the camera roll.
RIGHT! I totally agree, I don't run into that problem because of how I do things but that has been the single most annoying thing I've encountered with Insta.

haha c'mon.. i'm not breaking my ideological self-promise here. i mean 'anti' as in i don't enjoy plastering my life all over the internet and never have. instagram being the first one i've used because it's.. fun and interesting.
I def find that Insta is fun, interesting, and generally a more positive space. It's all about how you follow people I guess.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Futurix Avatar
74 months ago
I wonder how this will affect legitimate apps that provide access to Instagram on devices and operating systems where this is no official apps (OS X, Windows, iPad, etc).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sharewaredemon Avatar
74 months ago
It's to fill the gaps in what a platform offers. My biggest complaint about instagram is they won't let me share directly from the camera roll. If they actually had a good API and weren't so anti-developer ... someone could create an app to correct that poor work flow.
My first thought about your biggest complaint is that it would let people spam more than they might already.
MY biggest complaint about Instagram is people who post more than 1 image regularly. Especially people who post 3 images almost every time they make posts. Yes it would be really awesome to share straight from camera roll, I agree with you, that would be really nice. BUT. I'd rather it take more time to post than see more spammy users who I generally unfollow.

Just a thought. I'm sure there's other stuff you don't like about Insta that's very legit, just like your main gripe.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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