Instagram has announced plans to review new and existing third-party apps in order to maintain the quality of its ecosystem. The photo-sharing social network has publicized several platform changes around which apps will have access to its API in order to “set up a more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on the platform.”
What this means for those who publish photos and videos to Instagram via third-party apps like Flow, Retro, EyeEm, and Priime is that some of these apps may no longer have access — it all depends on whether the Facebook-owned property deems the app a value to its community.
The move comes four years after Instagram opened its API to the world, and the company admits that back then it “knew we wouldn’t be able to build all the features our community might want.” But now, as Instagram has become a media and marketing powerhouse, it has to be pickier about selecting services to work with, such as certified marketing providers.
Starting December 3, new developers will have to submit their apps for review before Instagram provides access to its API. Those that already have access will have until June 1, 2016 to do the same. While the review process is going on, Instagram will provide a Sandbox Mode for developers building and testing apps, so they will be able to proceed on schedule if their app successfully passes.
Apps that will likely pass muster include those that help individual users share their own content — those that let you print your photos or import an Instagram photo as a profile picture, services that help brands understand their audiences and produce content on the social network, and apps that help publishers and broadcasters better relate to their fans, share media, and obtain digital rights to media.
One might think that restricting access like this is how Twitter alienated its developer community, but Facebook hasn’t ever made a secret of its intentions to prioritize the user experience. Even when it comes to advertising, it isn’t going to let just any ad format be inserted on the site — it is going to take its time granting access, while recognizing the importance of its end users.
If you’re interested in reading the terms of the new Instagram API, you can do so here.