The Complete Guide to the Instagram API Updates (2/2)

API updates

Keep reading for more information about Instagram API updates.

Instagram’s New Graph API

Facebook closed the gate to access its original API in 2018. For a while, the situation was muddled, and it led to the inconsistencies referred to above. A lot of the apps that previously had access to Instagram’s API retained it. However, new apps struggled to receive approval.

Facebook and Instagram changed their old API with a new one known as Graph API. It is now the basic way for apps to read and write to the Facebook social graph. All of their SDKs and products (including Instagram) interact with the Graph API in some ways, and their other APIs are extensions of the Graph API.

Developers explore that it is more difficult to connect their products to Instagram, as the brand new Graph API is much more restrictive than the previous one. You can’t collect data by using any apps but Instagram’s new Graph API, and Instagram restricts use.  You have to ask for approval to use Instagram data, and there are extensive processes developers have to complete.

It was notable that when we reviewed the social media management platform, Socialoomph, in mid-2019, that Instagram was the only major social network they didn’t cater for. You may use Socialoomph to schedule Facebook posts, however, the process was considerably harder than for any of the competition. End users had to use the Facebook Development team to gain access to the API. And Facebook treated each person’s use of Socialoomph as a separate development, requiring each end-user to complete the full set of tests they require of software developers. If this is a sign of things to return for Facebook and Instagram, we may see fewer new apps in the future that depend on API access.

How Developers Can Use the New API

Although the Graph API is much more restricted than the old API, it does provide developers with some hope. Third-party Instagram apps aren’t yet dead. You’ll need either an Instagram Business Account or an Instagram Creator Account to access any information collected, however.

The Instagram Graph API still provides developers with chances to build (approved) apps that interact with Instagram. The API can be used to get and publish media, manage and reply to comments on your media, identify media the place you have been @mentioned by other Instagram users, discover hashtagged media, and get basic metadata and metrics about other Instagram Businesses and Creators.

The Instagram Graph API targets Instagram Businesses and Creators who need insight into, and full control over, all of their social media interactions. If you are building an app for consumers or you only have to get an app user’s basic profile information, photos, and videos, you could think about using the Instagram Basic Display API instead.

API updates

Instagram considers the most common uses of the Graph API to be:

  • getting and managing published photos, videos, and Stories
  • getting basic information about other Instagram Business users and Creators
  • moderating comments and their replies
  • measuring media and profile interaction
  • discovering hashtagged media
  • discovering @mentions
  • publishing photos and videos (currently in closed beta)

Instagram Basic Display API

Instagram now has an alternative API you should use to get basic profile information, photos, and videos in your Instagram accounts. You should use the Instagram Basic Display API to access any kind of Instagram account. Nevertheless, it only offers read access to basic data.

It has minimal capabilities, however, and doesn’t support Stories, comments, promoted posts, or insights.

Steps to Using the New API

For those who want to use the Instagram Graph API to interact with Instagram and collect Instagram knowledge, it’s essential to create an account as a Facebook Developer. To gain access to a user’s data, you need an access token. An access token is a string that identifies a user, app, or Page. It may be used by the app to make graph API calls. When someone connects with an app using Facebook/Instagram Login and approves the request for permissions, the app obtains an access token that provides temporary, secure access to Facebook/Instagram APIs.

API updates

As soon as connected, any Facebook User who can perform Tasks on behalf of that Page will be able to grant your app a User access token, which you can then include in API requests.

To  gain access to the Graph API, a developer will need:

  • An Instagram Business Account or Instagram Creator Account
  • A Facebook Page connected to that account
  • A Facebook Developer account that can perform Tasks on that Page
  • A registered Facebook App with Basic settings configured

Before you switch your app to Live mode, Facebook/Instagram must make sure that you will use their products and data in an approved manner. To achieve this goal, they require many apps to undergo App Review. The process includes specifying the kind of data your app will be requesting from users and describing how you will use that data. Based on your submission, they might follow up and ask you to complete additional steps. If you switch your app to Live mode before you have been approved, you will lose access to all data, including that of your app, test users, test pages, and app developers and app admins.

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