Instagram Disables Several APIs Used by Third-Party Apps

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Along with multiple privacy-related API changes being made to Facebook, Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced that it has disabled several Instagram Platform APIs as of today, disabling certain Instagram features that are available in third-party Instagram apps.

Third-party Instagram apps will no longer be able to use APIs that provide access to follower lists, likes, relationships, and public comments.

To continuously improve Instagram users’ privacy and security, we are accelerating the deprecation of Instagram API Platform, making the following changes effective immediately. We understand that this may affect your business or services, and we appreciate your support in keeping our platform secure.

In the future, other APIs will be disabled. Starting on December 11, 2018, Instagram will no longer allow apps to read public content, and in early 2020, apps will not be able to read a user’s own profile info and media. These APIs are all part of Instagram’s older platform, and it has already been working towards transferring developers to a newer, more restrictive platform.

As TechCrunch points out, Instagram had originally planned on deprecating the APIs in July and December of 2018, but suddenly moved the timetable forward in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. While the remaining APIs won’t be disabled fully until 2020, Instagram has implemented rate limit reductions on them as of last weekend to limit access.

Instagram previously allowed 5,000 API calls per user per hour, a number that has been cut down to 200.

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Instagram is Trying to Make Users Feel Better Without Scaring Them Off

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A perfectly styled plate of food, overflowing and untouched. A shot from behind a young woman, naked in the back of a van, looking out at a stunning landscape (#vanlife). Thin, attractive people in expensive workout clothes without a drop of sweat. Endless selfies that purport to be #nofilter and makeup-free while still somehow looking flawless.

Ho, hum, another day of scrolling through Instagram, and all the feelings of inadequacy it brings up. Over time, those feelings could wear on users’ mental health.

Instagram has negative effects on wellbeing, especially among young women, according to several recent studies. Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) ranked Instagram as the worst social network for mental health among young people. Now, Quartz reports that Instagram has decided to address these problems by creating a “Wellbeing Team.”

So far, it’s unclear what exactly that team will be doing, or who will be on it. That may be because Instagram is struggling to walk a fine line between helping its users and alienating them.

A hand holding a mobile phone taking a photo of a sunset over the ocean. Apps like Instagram encourage obsession with sharing content like this to the point that it may damage mental health.
If the sun sets and you didn’t ‘gram it, did it even happen? Image Credit: Free-Photos / Pixabay

The app has recently implemented a few notable changes intended to keep users psychologically healthy, like a filter for offensive comments and connections to mental health resources for those who seem to need it.

Yet what Instagram hasn’t done is introduce some of the RSPH’s suggestions, detailed in its study. The research suggested interventions like a pop-up that warns users they’ve been using social media too long, or a watermark that indicates if an image has been digitally altered.

That’s not all that surprising; telling users that they’ve been on an app too long would make being on the app feel like being nagged by a parent, and run counter to the addictive quality that social media companies have worked hard to build into their products. Additionally, if Instagram started calling out users for retouching their photos, they’d likely find their most prolific users ditching the app in a hurry.

Ultimately, the problem here is a paradox: many aspects of Instagram that make people feel terrible are the very things people come to the app to find. Users want to see images of beautiful places and people; they’re coaxed, compelled to compare their lives to others in the hope of reassuring themselves they’re doing alright. Unlike other apps that have faced these issues, such as Facebook, Instagram posts aren’t diluted by status updates, random shared articles, and other types of content; Instagram is built for voyeurism.

We won’t pretend that there are any easy answers to this issue. As Quartz and others have pointed out, this problem stems from a larger, systemic cultural issue — where depression and other mental health issues remain under-addressed, and in which how you look, and how well you fit into cultural expectations of “success,” are given more credence than actual happiness.

Maybe Instagram’s new “Wellbeing Team” will find some innovative ways to chip away at that.

The post Instagram is Trying to Make Users Feel Better Without Scaring Them Off appeared first on Futurism.

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Facebook restricts APIs, axes old Instagram platform amidst scandals

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Facebook is entering a tough transition period where it won’t take chances around data privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, CTO Mike Schroepfer tells TechCrunch. That’s why it’s moving up the shut down of part of the Instagram API. It’s significantly limiting data available from or requiring approval for access to Facebook’s Events, Groups, and Pages APIs plus Facebook Login. Facebook is also shutting down search by email or user name and changing its account recovery system after discovering malicious actors were using these to scrape people’s data. “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way” Schroepfer writes.

Instagram will immediately shut down part of its old platform API that was scheduled for deprecation on July 31st. TechCrunch first reported that developers’ Instagram apps were breaking over the weekend due to a sudden reduction in the API call limit. Instagram refused to comment, leading to developer frustration as their apps that analyze people’s followers and help them grow their audiences stopped working.

Now an Instagram spokesperson tells TechCrunch that “Effective today, Instagram is speeding up the previously announced deprecation of the Instagram API Platform” as part of Facebook’s work to protect people’s data. The APIs for follower lists, relationships, and commenting on public content will cease to function immediately. The December 11th, 2018 deprecation of public content reading APIs and the 2020 deprecation of basic profile info APIs will happen as scheduled, but it’s implemented rate limit reductions on them now.

The announcements come alongside Facebook’s admission that up to 87 million users had their data improperly attained by Cambridge Analytica, up from early estimates of 50 million. These users will see a warning atop their News Feed about what happened, what they should do, and see surfaced options for removing other apps they gave permissions to. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to take questions about today’s announcements during at 1:00pm Pacific conference call.

Regarding the Facebook APIs, here’s the abbreviated version of the changes and what they mean:

  • Events API will require approval for use in the future, and developers will no long be able to pull guest lists or post sto the event wall. This could break some event discovery and ticketing apps.
  • Groups API will require approval from Facebook and a Group admin, and developers won’t be able to pull member lists or the names and photos associated with posts. This will limit Group management apps to reputable developers only, and keep a single non-admin member of a closed Group from giving developers access.
  • Pages API will only be available to developers providing “useful services”, and all future access will require Facebook approval. This could heavily restrict Page management apps for scheduling posts or moderating comments.
  • Facebook Login use will require a stricter review process and apps won’t be able to pull users personal information or activity, plus they’ll lose access if after 3 months of non-use. Most login apps should still work, though, as few actually needed your religious affiliation or video watching activity, though some professional apps might not function without your work history
  • Search by phone number or email will no longer work, as Facebook says it discovered malicious actors were using them to pair one piece of information with someone’s identity, and cycling through IP addresses to avoid being blocked by Facebook. This could make it tougher for people in countries where people have similar names find each other. Of all the changes, this may be the most damaging to the user experience.
  • Account Recovery will no longer immediately show the identity of a user when someone submits their email or phone number to similarly prevent scraping. The feature will still work, but may be more confusing. Facebook believes all its users’ could have had their data scraped using the search and account recovery tricks.

Schroepfer says that Facebook’s goal is to lock things down, review everything, and then figure out which developers deserve access and whether any of the functionality should be restored. The announcements raise questions about why it took the Cambridge Analytica scandal for Facebook to take data privacy seriously. You can expect the House Energy and Commerce Committee may ask Mark Zuckerberg that when he comes to testify on April 10th.

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer

Facebook’s bold action to reform its APIs shows it’s willing to prioritize users above developers — at least once pushed by public backlash and internal strife. The platform whiplash could make developers apprehensive to build on Facebook in the future. But if Facebook didn’t shore up data privacy, it’d have no defense if future privacy abuses by outside developers came to light.

Schroepfer tells me Facebook is taking its responsibility super seriously and that company is upset that it allowed this situation to happen. At least he seems earnest. Last week I wrote that Facebook needd to make a significant act of contrition and humility if it wanted stabilize the sinking morale of its employees. These sweeping changes qualify, and could serve as a rallying call for Facebook’s team. Rather than sit with their heads in their hands, they have a roadmap of things to fix.

Still, given the public’s lack of understanding of APIs and platforms, it may be tough for Facebook to ever regain the trust broken by a month of savage headlines about the social network’s privacy negligence. Long-term, this souring of opinion could make users hesitant to share as much on Facebook. But given its role as a ubiquitous utility for login with your identity across the web, our compulsive desire to scroll its feed and check its notifications, and the lack of viable social networking alternatives, Facebook might see the backlash blow over eventually. Hopefully that won’t lead back to business as usual.

For more on the recent Facebook platform changes, read our other stories:

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How to Download Instagram on iPad

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How to Download Instagram on iPad

Along with Twitter and WhatsApp, Instagram is my go-to option to stay in touch with all of my friends, loved ones, and followers. Recently, I thought of watching some of the most hilarious videos shared by my friends on the ultra-large iPad Pro. Hence, I went to App Store to download Instagram on the iPad, but I was surprised to find the social networking app missing. So, where had it gone?

I double-checked the compatibility of the app and spent plenty of time searching for it in the App Store but in vain. Disappointed to have not been able to get the app on the iPad, I looked for a workaround to get across the line. And fortunately, I stumbled upon a pretty simple trick to overcome the barrier.

How to Download Instagram on iPad

How to Download Instagram on iPad

Step #1. Open Safari or any other web browser on your iPad.

Step #2. Now, head over to instagram.com

Step #3. Next, you should see “Download on the App Store” button. Tap on it.

Tap on Download on the App Store in Instagram on iPad

Step #4. Tap on Open in the Popup.

Tap on Open to Install Instagram on iPad

Step #5. Next up, you will be directed to the Instagram app in the App Store. Now, download the app as usual.

Download Instagram on iPad

That’s it!

Have your say

Though Instagram is not perfectly optimized for iPad, you will be able to use it on the tablet without any trouble. I wish it became as neat on Apple’s tablet as it’s on iPhone sooner than later. What do you think?

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Instagram Is Killing Its Apple Watch App

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Photo sharing app Instagram has become the latest company to confirm that it won’t be supporting future Apple Watch software updates. According to a report from 9to5Mac, Instagram has joined Slack, Whole Foods, eBay, Amazon and Google Maps in scrapping their apps for Apple’s smartwatch. It’s believed that this is a widespread response to a […]
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How to Share Panoramic Photos on Instagram on iPhone and iPad

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How to Share Panoramic Images on Instagram on iPhone and iPad

Instagram is lashed with numerous exciting features to make sharing photos and videos a great experience. But the one feature that’s been missing for several years is the support for panoramic images— with horizontally elongated fields of view! But you shouldn’t let disappointment throw cold water on your spirit as there are quite a few third-party apps to shoot out the hurdle and share Panoramic images on Instagram using iPhone and iPad.

Panols for iOS lets you effortlessly post Panorama-style photos on Instagram. You can make the most of carousel feature to share multiple images in one shot and set the social networking app on the frenzy! Do note that you are allowed to upload only up to ten images this way.

How to Share Panoramic Images on Instagram on iPhone and iPad

How to Share Panoramic Pictures on Instagram on iPhone or iPad

Step #1. First off, download the app Panols on your iOS device. The app requires iOS 9.2 or later and is priced at $ 1.99.

After you have successfully downloaded the app, launch it. You need to allow the app to access your Photos app.

Open Panols app on iPhone and allow photo access

Step #2. Now, you should see the thumbnails of all the panoramic images available in your Photos library. Then, select the panoramic photo you want to use.

Select panoramic photo you want to use in iOS Panols App

Note: All the panoramic images you have captured on your device are saved in an album called “Panoramas.” Hence, you can directly head over to this special album and pick the photo you wan wish to use.

Step #3. It will divide your panoramic image into three squares. You can pinch to zoom in and out or swipe around to align the panorama to the grid perfectly.

Divide your panoramic image into three squares in iOS Panols App

Once you are done, tap on Export Panol at the bottom. You should see a confirmation message that your panoramic shot has been processed and exported to the album “Panols” in your photo library. Next, tap on Done and then leave the app.

Tap on Export Panol and then tap on Done in iOS Panols App

Step #4. Next up, open Instagram on your iOS device and select Plus button at the bottom.

Open Instagram App on iPhone and then tap on Plus icon

Now, tap on Multiple icon and choose the three square images you just made with Panols from the original panoramic photo, then tap Next to continue.

Tap on Multiple icon and choose panoramic images and then tap on Next in iOS Instagram App

Make sure the leftmost side of the photo is selected first. Also, ensure that the middle and rightmost side of the image is also selected.

You can select the filter for all of your squares at one go. To do so, tap on one of the filter thumbnails located alongside the bottom of the screen.

There is also an option to apply a different filter to each square image. Just tap on the icon in the lower-left corner. Then, tap on Next to continue.

Apply a different filter to Panoramic image in iOS Instagram App

Step #5. Don’t forget to type in your caption or enter other metadata as desired. In the end, tap on Share to upload your photo.

Type Caption and Tap on Share to Upload Panoramic Image on Instagram on iPhone and iPad

Once the image has been uploaded, your friends and followers will be able to see the first image in their feed. They need to swipe to access other pano shots in the series.

Over to you

That’s how you can overcome the obstacle and share the horizontally elongated fields of view shots. Have any feedback? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Instagram Eliminates Apple Watch App

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Instagram today became the latest company to ditch the Apple Watch, eliminating its Apple Watch app in an update that was released this morning.

In a statement given to French site iPhoneAddict, Instagram said the Instagram Apple Watch app was built using the watchOS 1 SDK, which was obsoleted by Apple on April 1. Rather than putting effort into rebuilding the app, Instagram has decided to end support for the wrist-worn device.

“The Instagram app for Apple Watch will no longer be available as a stand-alone experience once users upgrade to Instagram version 39 on iOS, released April 2, 2018. We are committed to providing users with the best experience with their Apple products and we will continue to explore ways to achieve this on all platforms. Users with an Apple Watch will continue to enjoy a great Instagram experience through various rich and varied notifications. “

Apple last year began notifying developers that Apple Watch apps need to be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later as of April 1, 2018. Apple first began requiring new apps to use the watchOS 2 SDK in June of 2016, and watchOS apps that continue to use the watchOS 1 SDK can no longer be updated. Apple now requires all new watchOS apps to be built using the watchOS 4 SDK.

Instagram has had a watchOS app available since 2015, and it was one of the first companies to support the Apple Watch when it first launched. The app was designed to let you view and like photos from the social network on your wrist. Instagram features will continue to be available on Apple Watch, but through notifications sent to a linked iPhone.

Instagram joins several other major companies that have abandoned development for the Apple Watch and eliminated their watchOS apps, including Twitter, Google Maps, Amazon, and eBay.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Instagram is limiting how much data some developers can collect from its API — and cutting off others altogether

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Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Facebook’s response to Cambridge Analytica continues with Instagram.

Instagram is cutting off API access for some developers and limiting how often others can use its API to collect data on Instagram users. The move appears to be part of Facebook’s efforts to cull back data access in the wake of the company’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

On Friday, Instagram suddenly changed the rate limit for its Platform API — essentially decreasing the number of times a developer can use the API to ping Instagram for updated information, according to conversations with multiple developers.

The rate limit for Instagram’s Platform API was 5,000 calls per hour, but was suddenly reduced to 200 calls per hour on Friday, sources say.

In other cases, Instagram cut off access to the API for some developers entirely, sources say. None of the developers we spoke with were alerted to the changes before they happened.

What the rate limit update means, in plain English, is that developers can pull data from Instagram much less often than they were allowed to before. For some industries that rely on near-constant access to Instagram data — industries like customer service or brand marketing — these limits can make it difficult to keep up with customer complaints or posts, developers said.

It can also limit the total volume of information that outsiders have access to. If developers need to be pickier about what data calls they make, they might stop collecting data on topics or users they don’t necessarily need simply because they can, developers said.

We don’t know Instagram’s motives for certain, though. The company declined to comment, or to confirm that any changes were made.

But multiple developers pointed out the change on Twitter, and Recode was also directed to a conversation on Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for developers. TechCrunch first reported on the API changes.

While developers might not be happy with the unexpected change, it makes sense. Facebook — and apparently Instagram — is looking hard at all of the ways the two services share data with outsiders as part of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal that rocked the company last month.

Instagram has already said that it was planning to scale back its Platform API, just not this early. The company originally told developers it would start to sunset features of the API beginning this summer, and to move everyone over to a more limited API by “early 2020.”

It looks like the Cambridge Analytica situation, in which an outside data firm got hold of the personal Facebook data of some 50 million people without their consent, may be speeding up Instagram’s original plan.

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Instagram Has Eliminated Its Apple Watch App

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Instagram, one of the largest social networks out there, has decided to call it quits on its official Apple Watch app. Continue reading
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Instagram abandons its Apple Watch app

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Instagram no longer has an Apple Watch app. The Verge can confirm that the version 39.0 update to the iPhone client, which comes with a changelog simply stating “general bug fixes and performance improvements,” removes the Watch app altogether.

As 9to5Mac notes, this is likely because of a new restriction that Apple is enforcing. As of April 1st, updates to Apple Watch apps must use the watchOS 2 SDK or later, while new Watch apps have to be built with the watchOS 4 SDK. Instagram’s app dates back to the days of WatchKit 1.0, when third-party software wasn’t able to run natively on the watch itself; it never got features like video support or the ability to work over an LTE connection.

In ending support for its Apple Watch app, Instagram…

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