How Facebook & Instagram’s API changes in April 2018 affect your reporting

Facebook & Instagram API changes illustration

These past few weeks have been full of Facebook data breach news, causing a bit of panic for individuals with regards to their personal information and data security. In addition, the changes that have been announced regarding third-party app access to both the Facebook and Instagram APIs have also raised questions for marketing agencies whose businesses depend on the everyday of use of these tools.

 

Several of our social media agency users here at DashThis have asked us if this changes anything for them and their own clients, and we wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of the situation, and that there is no need to panic as an agency reporting with DashThis!

 

Short answer? Nope, your Facebook and Instagram reporting will continue as usual with us.

 

Long answer? Read on…

What is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a consulting firm based in Britain which specializes in strategic commercial and political communication through the use of data mining, brokerage, and analysis. Basically, they help strategize campaigns through the use of publicly known personal data.

 

Cambridge Analytica initially gathered personal data through an app called thisisyourdigitallife thanks to a personality quiz that people could actively opt into taking. However, what wasn’t known at the time was that through that personality quiz, Cambridge Analytica was able to tap into the quiz takers’ Facebook friends’ profiles and gather their personal data as well.

 

Ahh… therein lies the issue.

Is third-party app access pretty common?

If you’ve ever played an online game, or taken an online quiz, or signed up for any myriad of newsletters, you’ve probably been given the option of either signing up with or sharing something directly in your Facebook account.

 

When this happens, the third-party system you’re using always asks you whether you allow them to access your Facebook data. This access you give them permission for can be anything from seeing your personal data, posting and publishing for you, seeing your list of friends, and a lot of other permission types. This is all well and good, and certainly speeds up the process instead of constantly having to invent new accounts for new platforms, but it also causes data privacy issues that we never really had to think about before.

 

If you’re curious to know which third-party apps have access to your personal Facebook data, just take a look at your settings in Facebook, and click on Apps and Websites on the left-hand side.

 

Facebook third party app access

 

Damn. That’s a lot.

 

But this isn’t really a problem, right? After all, you’ve already given these apps permission to access your data.

 

But did your Facebook friends give these apps permission to access their data by going through you?

 

Nope.

So what is Facebook doing about this?

In order to limit third-party access to personal data and protect the privacy of their users in the future, both Facebook and Instagram (which is now owned by Facebook) are either limiting or entirely cutting off API access for some developers and third-party apps.

 

On the Facebook API side, Event, Groups, Pages, Search, and Games are among those APIs that will be affected by this roll-back.

 

On the Instagram API side, Follows & Relationships, Commenting on Public Content, Likes, and User search are among those that will also be affected.

Does this affect social media reporting for agencies?

Rest assured, nothing has changed with the way you do your social media reporting in DashThis.

 

Our team always strives to ensure that no matter the changes that may occur in integrations’ APIs over the years, you should never be negatively affected by them. We’re here to make your life easier, after all!

 

We aren’t a typical “third-party app”, in the sense that we don’t access public data, and we don’t fetch data that isn’t explicitly asked for by our users.

 

In order to fetch your data and put it in your DashThis dashboards, we ask you to input your credentials to link your Facebook and/or Instagram account. You’re effectively granting us access to the linked account and only that linked account, and we have no way to fetch data from any other account.

 

That’s why if you have several clients or several accounts, you actually have to connect them all yourself in DashThis.

 

Basically, the new limitations and or full cut-offs of Facebook’s API and Instagram’s API only affect those apps that use public data, which we don’t do.

 

So all this being said, there’s no need to panic for your social media reporting; we’re as dedicated as always to your data security, and the data we access is ONLY the data you ask us to fetch – nothing more!

 

Nathalie Nathalie Couët

With beginnings in traditional print media, Nathalie has been in digital communications management for 8 years. She is now in charge of communications, PR & content marketing at DashThis! Want to be a guest writer on the DashThis blog? Drop us a line at marketing@dashthis.com!

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