Facebook is making good on Mark Zuckerberg’s promise to prioritize user safety and data privacy over its developer platform. Today Facebook and Instagram announced a slew of API shutdowns and changes designed to stop developers from being able to pull your data or your friends’ data without express permission, drag in public content or trick you into sharing. Some changes go into effect today, and others roll out on August 1 so developers have more than 90 days to fix their apps. They follow the big changes announced two weeks ago.
Most notably, app developers will have to start using the standardized Facebook sharing dialog to request the ability to publish to the News Feed on a user’s behalf. They’ll no longer be able to use the publish_actions API that let them design a custom sharing prompt. A Facebook spokesperson says this change was planned for the future because the consistency helps users feel in control, but the company moved the deadline up to August 1 as part of today’s updates because it didn’t want to have to make multiple separate announcements of app-breaking changes.
One significant Instagram Graph API change is going into effect today, which removes the ability to pull the name and bio of users who leave comments on your content, though commenters’ usernames and comment text is still available.
Facebook’s willingness to put user safety over platform utility indicates a maturation of the company’s “Hacker Way” that played fast-and-loose with people’s data in order to attract developers to its platform who would in turn create functionality that soaked up more attention.
For more on Facebook’s API changes, check out our breakdown of the major updates: