On November 18, Instagram announced updates for a simplified policy that will make the platform more manageable by streamlining the supported use cases. This update comes at the expense of feed reading apps who will be unable to access users’ feeds once the Feed API is shut down.
Individuals will still enjoy access to their own content for related third-party applications, such as image editors and print services, as well as pulling Instagram images for profile pictures. Brands and advertisers will be able to understand their audience and define content strategies, pending application for the Instagram Partner Program, and broadcasters and publishers will be able to leverage Web Embeds.
Binning the Feed API may seem like a dangerous move that will cost the platform users, but considering that the most popular Instagram client boasts only 0.5% of the platform’s active monthly users, the loss won’t be felt too heavily. The underlying goal of this move is to create a more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on Instagram’s own platform. Reducing the developer resource drain of maintaining and optimising features for relatively unused clients will allow the company to dedicate engineering efforts to its core platforms.
Recent examples of this benefit can be seen in companion applications such as Boomerang and Hyperlapse, as well as in the ability to crop images in portrait or landscape and the addition of trends and place search. While all of this will help to ensure that users view images on Instagram’s platforms, where they can serve adverts, it also provides users with an improved quality of service with Instagram serving as a strict gate keeper to ensure the maintaining of standards.
With immediate effect, Instagram is allowing no new apps on the platform. Then, from December 3, submissions will open for the mandatory App Permissions Review Process to ensure that new apps fall within the approved categories. All existing apps on the platform will have until June 1, 2016, to complete the review process and prove compliance with the new policies. Another welcome addition will be the launch of Sandbox Mode, which allows the private building and testing off your apps using Instagram’s APIs while the review process is taking place.