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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Facebook announces how it will restrict third-party access from user data

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A couple of weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg made a statement following the realization that Facebook’s platform was used to influence the outcome of the 2016 United States election. Today, Facebook offers a more specific look at how exactly it is restricting users’ data from falling into the wrong hand while admitting that at least 87 million accounts’ information were improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica (70 million accounts were of the US). A lot of user data was available through APIs, or Application Program Interface, which would allow third parties to pull information from…

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Facebook now lets you delete multiple third-party apps at once

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There’s no “select all” button, but this is still much better.

Shortly after news broke that millions of Facebook users had their personal information shared and exposed with Cambridge Analytica, people have been in a rush to revoke access from third-party apps to their Facebook accounts.

Deleting apps and websites that have access to your account is fairly straightforward, but in its current form, is a very time-consuming process as Facebook only allows you to delete one app at a time. Thankfully, this is now changing with a bulk removal tool.

Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s rolling this feature out to users on its desktop website and mobile apps, and it allows you to select multiple apps and delete them all at once. There’s no “select all” button for automatically choosing all apps at once, but this is still a very welcome addition.

To use this feature, simply select the apps you want to delete, tap the “remove” button in the upper right-hand corner, and then press “remove” again to confirm your decision. You’ll also be able to check a box to confirm whether or not you want to delete any posts, photos, and/or videos that have been shared from your account using these apps.

The bulk removal tool should be available to use right now.

Up to 87 million Facebook users’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica

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Facebook users can now delete third-party apps in bulk

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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been making some changes, giving users a little bit more control over their data and how it's used. Today, TechCrunch reports that the company is making it easier to remove third-party apps…
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Facebook will no longer allow third-party data for targeting ads

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Facebook announced today that it’s disabling a form of advertising targeting called Partner Categories, which allowed prominent third-party data aggregators like Experian and Acxiom to provide clients with offline data like purchasing activity to inform ad targeting. The move comes amid the fallout from the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, and it follows similar moves from the social network to curtail abusive ad practices. Those include a momentary pause on third-party app approval announced today and new limitations imposed on the volume and type of data third-party apps are given through APIs like Facebook Login announced last week.

As pointed out by Recode, Partner Categories is not what allowed Cambridge Analytica…

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Facebook severs relationship with third-party data brokers

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In light of Facebook’s recent privacy woes, the company today pledged to take a meaningful step in writing past wrongs by shutting data brokers out of its multi-billion dollar ad platform. Facebook’s product marketing director Graham Mudd had this to say: We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook. The plan centers on third-party brokers like…

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SwitchArcade Roundup: Third-Party Docks, ‘Thimbleweed Park’ Sale, and ‘Vostok Inc.’

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Welcome to the latest SwitchArcade Roundup, where we’re covering today’s latest Switch news, sales, and providing some impressions of twin-stick shooter/clicker Vostok Inc. No new releases today, so it’s a good time to catch up on that backlog and check out some of the sales. Also, try not to let your system explode, of course. Nintendo has some advice on that topic, as users are reporting that the Nyko Switch dock is bricking Switch systems on 5.0. Also, Nintendo provided a rare on-record response about third-party Switch docks:

Unlicensed products and accessories do not undergo Nintendo’s testing and evaluation process. They might not work at all with our game systems, and they could have compatibility problems with certain games, the Nintendo Switch system itself, and other licensed accessories and peripherals.

The problem is that a market for third-party docks exists because the official Switch dock is a whopping $ 90 new. This isn’t necessarily a crazy price, especially if you look on Amazon for high-quality USB-C PD chargers and USB-C HDMI and USB docks with charging passthrough. But it’s still prohibitively expensive for someone that just wants to have a second dock to have by another display, or something for traveling. Especially for traveling, a more portable dock solution would be great.

I’m not sure why all these third-party docks are causing such issues, but USB-C is proving particularly problematic despite its promise of standardization through one connector. Many early USB-C cables were also dangerous products due to cheaping out on materials. But it seems like manufacturers should have caught on a lot earlier than now.

But also, seriously, that Nintendo Switch dock doesn’t need to cost $ 90.

Kirby Star Allies gets new friends

Staff writer Mikhail Madnani’s game of the year so far, Kirby Star Allies, just got some new friends available. Rick, Kine, and Coo from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 are in the game now. So is Gooey from Kirby’s Dream Land 3 and Marx from Kirby Super Star. I miss Kirby’s Dream Land 2, hopefully that winds up on the Switch’s Virtual Console…if it ever comes.

Dragon Quest XI coming someday to the Switch

Western players waiting on the most recent mainline Dragon Quest game will get it on PC and PS4 later this year. However, the 3DS version isn’t coming this year, and a Switch port isn’t coming in 2018 at all. Hold out hope, gamers who want to play Dragon Quest XI on the toilet without having to bust out their Vita and doing Remote Play from their PS4! Such an act would be way too dirty.

Game Spotlight: Vostok Inc.

The problem with having a writing job is that it means that you’re constantly thinking. Physical work is tiring in its own way, but mental work can be draining in its own way. What this means is that when I’m looking to entertain myself in the down time I have, I want things where I can turn my thinking brain off, and don’t have too much of a commitment. Even some of the battle royale games work great because they’re so much about reaction, less than planning. And they are a great distraction from whatever’s on my mind. Vostok Inc. has quickly taken up a lot of time in my Switch-playing because it’s so mindless.

The progression of the game is exactly like a clicker, where you build outposts on different planets and fly to them, collecting your money and building bigger and better resource-generators. It provides that same sort of feeling of not having to do much work mentally, but giving off a lot of satisfaction. Perfect for mindlessly sitting back, watching some sports, and just taking your mind off of life, perhaps freeing up your brain from the stresses of the day to come up with good ideas.

The catch, of course, is that Vostok Inc. is actually a dual-stick shooter. You have to fly around from planet to planet to manage your planets, and you can not only upgrade resource collectors, but items and weapons for your ship. Instead of clicking, you shoot asteroids and enemies to mine Moolah, the game’s currency. Other organizations in the galaxy don’t like you intruding on their business, so you occasionally have to deal with bosses and their lackeys in the preferred way: blowing them up. Which nets you more Moolah, of course.

The whole concept works as a clicker with a feeling of actual gameplay, making it feel as though you’re not wasting your life on something dumb. However, managing different planets gets to be a bit annoying when they’re constantly in orbit around their galaxy’s sun and you have to track where they are. In the long term, that might suck a lot of the enjoyment I have out of Vostok Inc. Until then, I’m going to enjoy just mindlessly managing my intergalactic capitalist empire.

Do note that the game is on sale and has a free demo, but your progress doesn’t transfer from the demo to the paid version. The demo gives you a decent amount of playtime out of it, but at least it means that your time spent when you pick up the full version will be a bit more efficient since you know what you’re doing now?

Sales

LEGO Franchise Sale

  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 $ 29.99 from $ 59.99 until April 1st
  • LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game $ 24.99 from $ 49.99 until April 1st
  • LEGO Worlds $ 14.99 from $ 29.99 until April 1st
  • LEGO City Undercover $ 14.99 from $ 29.99 until April 1st

A whole bunch of LEGO on sale! The first two are if you prefer your LEGO action more based off of the Traveller’s Tales licensed titles that lightly joke around with their subject matter. If you want a more original adventure, Worlds boasts Minecraft-style creative gameplay, and Undercover is an open-world game where you play as a LEGO cop, taking down criminals. Those last two at those prices might be especially great for the kids.

The Jackbox Party Pack 2 ($ 16.24 from $ 24.99 until April 5th)

Need a party game experience that’s great for the extra $ 90 official “won’t blow up your system” dock you’ve got? Another one of Jackbox’s Party Pack compilations is on sale, containing the popular Quiplash. Each player gets two prompts on their phone, and they try to write a funny answer in response to the prompt. Players then vote for the best response, and the player with the most points wins. That sounds like a boring way to describe a game that’s really funny at parties, but if you have some friends with an absurd sense of humor, you’ll get a ton of fun out of this, and the other party games in this pack.

Thimbleweed Park ($ 9.99 from $ 19.99 until March 31st)

Do you want a LucasArts-style point-and-click adventure? Do you want it to be from one of the masterminds behind said LucasArts point-and-click adventures? Well, Ron Gilbert’s Thimbleweed Park is the game for you. It pays homage to the game genre he helped to define in its formative years. It features an absurd mystery-solving story that jumps perspective from character to character, and plenty of puzzles that will having you use item x with thing y, and seeing what happens.

Keep an eye out every weekday for more SwitchArcade Roundups! We want to hear your feedback on Nintendo Switch coverage on TouchArcade. Comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!

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Security flaw in Grindr exposed locations to third-party service

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Users of Grindr, the popular dating app for gay men, may have been broadcasting their location despite having disabled that particular feature. Two security flaws allowed for discovery of location data against a user’s will, though they take a bit of doing.

The first of the flaws, which were discovered by Trever Faden and reported first by NBC News, allowed users to see a variety of data not available normally: who had blocked them, deleted photos, locations of people who had chosen not to share that data and more.

The catch is that if you wanted to find out about this, you had to hand over your username and password to Faden’s purpose-built website, C*ckblocked (asterisk original), which would then scour your Grindr account for this hidden metadata.

Of course it’s a bad idea to surrender your credentials to any third party whatsoever, but regardless of that, this particular third party was able to find data that a user should not have access to in the first place.

The second flaw involved location data being sent unencrypted, meaning a traffic snooper might be able to detect it.

It may not sound too serious to have someone watching a Wi-Fi network know a person’s location — they’re there on the network, obviously, which narrows it down considerably. But users of a gay dating app are members of a minority often targeted by bigots and governments, and having their phone essentially send out a public signal saying “I’m here and I’m gay” without their knowledge is a serious problem.

I’ve asked Grindr for comment and confirmation; the company told NBC News that it had changed how data was handled in order to prevent the C*ckblocked exploit (the site has since been shut down), but did not address the second issue.

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Snapchat might let third-party apps connect to user accounts

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Yesterday, Mashable discovered that the latest beta version of Snapchat had a new feature category called 'Connected Apps.' While it didn't display any, the placeholder text said "These apps are connected to your Snapchat account. Choose an app to co…
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Firmware 5.0 could brick your Nintendo Switch if you’re using a third-party dock

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Nintendo’s recent firmware update to version 5.0 has fixed some vulnerabilities, but made some docks dangerously incompatible.

Shortly after Nintendo released its latest firmware, version 5.0, reports have come in that third-party docks are causing irreparable damage to the Switch, essentially “bricking” the device. If you’ve been using any other dock besides Nintendo’s official one (the one that comes with your Switch), you should stop using it right now, even if it hasn’t broken it yet.

Though most reports seem to confirm that it’s related to third-party docks, at least one person has reported that their portable battery charger had caused the issue.

To be clear, the issue is not specific to a particular brand of dock. I’ve read comments from people using the Nyko docking kit and the FastSnail docking kit.

Nintendo currently does not have a method for backing up game saves off of the Switch, so it’s important that you don’t do anything that might render your Switch inoperable. You might have to wipe your system, which would delete all of those many, many hours of grinding in Breath of the Wild.

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