Instagram pushed through an update to its API today that means that new third-party apps will no longer be able to automatically like content or follow on users’ behalf.

According to Instagram, all new apps will have to be cleared by the company to have access to Like and Relationship endpoints, which means the ability to like and follow on behalf of a user.

Instagram said that use cases where this might come into play include “a platform for media publishers and brands [requesting] permission from the Instagram community to use Instagram content” or “a platform to help businesses integrate Instagram in their social media workflow.”

Existing apps will be unaffected by the API change, Instagram said. But it added that any app that hasn’t posted a like or a follow since January 1 will have until April 28 to formally request access before its access is turned off.

“We’ve always had prohibitions against participating in any ‘like,’ ‘share,’ ‘comment,’ or ‘follower’ exchange programs,” an Instagram spokesperson told VentureBeat, “as well as using the Instagram APIs to post automated content to Instagram, including likes and comments that were not initiated and entered by an Instagram user. The goal of this update is to make it even clearer that this behavior isn’t acceptable, and we will continue to enforce our API Terms of Use to ensure a positive and authentic experience for people.”


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