At the beginning of April 2018, Instagram made some big changes to their API’s. The good news is that these changes aim to protect the data and privacy of their users. The bad news is that it also affects any company using the Instagram API.
Luckily, in the case of SnapWidget, there is no effect on our service. Since the last major change to the Instagram API in June 2016, our widgets use only the basic API. Instagram will continue to support the basic API until at least early 2020. We will then switch over to the new Instagram Graph API.
If you want to know the details of the changes and how we are still able to offer hashtag widgets, keep reading:
Why does SnapWidget need to use the Instagram API?
The Instagram API (application programming interface) is what we use to get your photos from Instagram. This lets us show your photos without ever needing to store your username and password. This is the only way any 3rd party app should ever access your Instagram content.
So what changed?
At the end of January 2018, Instagram announced that they will be retiring the Instagram API in 2020. They would then replace it with the newer Instagram Graph API. On April 4th, following recent privacy concerns, some changes went into effect immediately.
Most of the now restricted parts of the API allowed access to the photos of public users. These users might not have given explicit permission for a 3rd party to access their photos.
The full changelog is available here.
How can SnapWidget still offer hashtag widgets?
SnapWidget values all our users’ privacy and that of all Instagram users. We built our service to ensure all users know exactly where their photos are being displayed.
For our hashtag widgets, we created a unique feature called Hashtag Campaigns. Using this, a SnapWidget user creates a campaign around a specific hashtag. They then share this campaign link with their friends or customers. This link allows an Instagram user to grant SnapWidget access to their photos. Hashtag widgets will only contain photos of people who gave us permission via a campaign. To remove their photos, a user can opt out of a campaign.
This is the best way to ensure Instagram users are always in control of their content.
For more information about our Hashtag Campaigns, check out our blog post.