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October 16, 2019

Instagram Ends Location Sharing via API

By CBR Staff Writer

Instagram has cut off the ability of third-party applications to pull Instagram user location data via an API, it said today, as the Facebook-owned social media network moves to tighten privacy permissions.

The decision was made to “minimize data exposure and ensure safety and privacy on our API” the company said today, as it migrated the final permission from its legacy API platform to the Facebook Graph API.

Instagram shut down its public API last year, meaning third-party apps now need to be approved by Instagram for API access, and has been shifting specific APIs over to its new API platform in batches as of 2018.

See also: Facebook Gets $5 Billion Fine, Blanket Immunity 

Instagram said it has introduced the following changes:

  • A feature that lets users revoke access to apps through the Instagram mobile app.
  • Separated profile and media information into two distinct permissions
  • Deprecated data fields like location data and follower counts,

Its “Basic Permission for Instagram” legacy API platform will be deprecated on March 2, 2020.

The shifts are primarily intended to improve consumer end-point experience and control, and avoid any further privacy fire-fighting for Instagram’s parent company.

Businesses and creators using tools for comment moderation, insights, and planning and posting content can use the Instagram Graph API.

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The move this week comes months after the US government fined Instagram owner Facebook a record $5 billion to settle charges that the company deceived users about how it was using their private information.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO at Socialbakers said in an emailed comment: “Since January 2018, we have seen the social media powerhouses – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – taking numerous steps to clean up their platforms. Whether it’s removing fake followers and accounts, clean up offensive content or locking down who can access user data, the age of privacy and transparency has well and truly dawned in social media.

“It’s great to see Instagram following in the footsteps of parent company Facebook as it steps up security features, to allow users to view which apps have access to their data. In the age of privacy and data protection, it’s key that social media platforms are transparent to users. Just last month Facebook revealed that it had removed tens of thousands of apps from its platform for breaking its rules.

“The fact is that users should always have full control over their data, As such, platforms that offer greater security and transparency are likely to have greater appeal to users and marketers going forward.”

See also: Whatsapp Opens Up API for Business Users, to Start Charging… 

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