As of November 17th, 2015, Instagram updated their Platform Policy and instituted a Permission Review that is mandatory for any app or plugin that uses their API. The changes are wide reaching, addressing issues their development team surely had high on the list of things to tackle to give their platform more structure and stability. Unfortunately for those using the API, it places tight restrictions on what it can be used for.
There are now only three valid uses cases for using the Instagram API (source):
- to help individuals share their own content with 3rd party apps
- to help brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience and digital media rights
- to help broadcasters and publishers discover content, get digital rights to media, and share media with proper attribution
Coupled with the new review process, this means some of the most common uses cases are out of luck. A simple feed of images on a website is a non-starter.
Instafeed.js is a popular plugin for listing out a user’s photos, tagged photos, or a hashtag. The plugin is in limbo since the new API restrictions were introduced since apps now need to be validated and approved by Instagram. This issue on GitHub is a good conversation finding out what the problem is, potential workarounds (they don’t work, I tried), and the realization that this use of the Instagram API just can’t work anymore.
I found out about this when trying to use Instafeed to set up a simple gallery of the latest five images from a user’s account. Realizing the only way to get around this is to create an app and get approved, I got started. A day after submitting my app for review, I was declined.
I asked for basic permissions (the minimum an app needs) to be used for the purpose of displaying recent posts on the About Us page of a company website. That doesn’t fit into one of the three use cases above. They also request a screencast of the login process for the app. This app doesn’t need a login so I didn’t provide a screencast.
Once an app is declined, it seems there is no way to resubmit it, but instead you have to create a new app. For the time being, I have no solution to this. If you’ve come across this or have your own solution, please let me know if the comments.