Instagram has deprecated much of its public API effective immediately. In a changelog published today, the popular Facebook-owned social media sharing platform announced that the endpoints for Follows and Relationships, Public Content Commenting, Likes and User Search have been removed. Instagram also deprecated subscriptions, which allowed for notifications when new media is posted.
Additionally, the changelog indicates that some of the information that has been provided on public content returned by hashtag and location search to date has been removed. This information includes name, bio, comments, follower count and profile picture.
Instagram's dramatic move, which appears to represent the death of its public API as developers have known it, follows the company's unannounced reduction of the number of API calls allowed per user per hour. As previously reported, the rate was reduced from 5,000 calls per user per hour to 200 calls per user per hour. The abrupt change, which was implemented without warning, caught many developers off guard and caused apps to break.
While Instagram has been mum on these significant changes, many observers believe they are in response to the Facebook data abuse scandal that has created perhaps the biggest crisis Instagram's parent company has ever faced. According to one commenter on Hacker News, Instagram did not even provide advance warning of today's changes to its partners. If true, that lends credence to the suggestion that these major API changes are in response to the scandal. For further analysis, be sure to read David Berlind's analysis of the news.