Facebook Latest API Changes Will Break Your Website Pages
34 days before an unexpected API change will take place, Facebook and Instagram will be dropping support of unauthenticated oEmbeds on October 24th.
Here’s what’s happening...
According to Facebook’s latest API update, starting October 24th, millions of web pages will break down due to the change that will be taking place in Facebook and Instagram APIs.
Now, let’s start with the terms to make the topic easier to understand and to apply.
What is an API?
Simply, and in a nutshell, an API is like the back-door that enables other websites to get access to a platform’s data. Here, it’s Facebook & Instagram API.
This new update will affect all the pages that contain an embedded link from Facebook and Instagram, breaking content across millions of websites. The change will force the users to generate an app ID with a developer account instead of a personal one in order to continue using these embedded links using the oEmbed method – which is a unique number that identifies your app when you request ads from Audience Network. Each app on Audience Network must have a unique Facebook App ID. While creating this app ID is not a simple process, however, without it, those embedded Facebook videos on your site will break.
What Are The Common Uses Of Facebook & Instagram oEmbed Links?
But first, what is an oEmbed?
Many web content publishing platforms —such as WordPress, Drupal, and many other platforms, allow their users to have the ability to share third-party content on the site. Using a simple API method that allows a website to display embedded content, such as photos or videos, Facebook lives, and Instagram posts, when a user posts a link to that resource on their site, without having to deal with the complex code process. This simple method is called oEmbed which is the format for allowing an embedded representation of a URL on third party sites. Which you might be using it for embedding Facebook posts and videos into your own website.
The most common uses of oEmbed
- Rendering Facebook pages, posts, and videos in messaging apps.
- Embedding Facebook pages, posts, and videos on websites and blogs.
- Rendering Facebook pages, posts, and videos in your content management system.
Now, let’s go deeper into what exactly will happen.
What you should be doing to avoid being affected by this Facebook API change?
While a simple method like this, largely used among non-technical users, it’s not a good thing to be locked away behind developers’ credentials. Yet, we live in an ever-changing world where those who can’t quickly adapt will sooner be lost behind. So, here’s how you should be preparing yourself for the upcoming changes if you want to use the oEmbed method as you used to do:
- First, you need to set up a Facebook Developer account, which you can create on developers.facebook.com.
- Register a Facebook app.
- Create an Access Token – App Access Token (recommended) or Client Access Token.
So, if you’re migrating off of the old endpoints, make sure to read this document for more information about Facebook API before you proceed with any changes.
In this document you can learn more information about the technical aspect, steps and how to set up your App ID.
WordPress Response to Facebook and Instagram API Changes
If you’re a WordPress user, now you might be thinking of how this will affect your content and what are the specific actions that you should be doing?
In response to Facebook’s API change, WordPress removed Facebook as an oEmbed provider, which, as a result, will leave millions of broken embeds, and some of the embedded content might be lost along the way. So, what should be your next move in order to avoid being one of Facebook’s API change victims? While some developers are now working on plugins to provide a solution to get the oEmbed functionality back. WordPress plugin developers have come up with a new plugin called oEmbed Plus that brings the support back for the embedded content. This plugin is quite simple and guides users through the process of setting up the Facebook App ID and credentials.
In conclusion, Facebook and Instagram changes will leave millions of non-technical website owners in a hard spot, along with millions of broken embeds across the web.
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