UPDATE on Nov 28, 2018: We have a solution that allows you to collect Instagram posts by mention and hashtag.
From our inception, we’ve always prioritized first-party data explicitly collected by our clients so they can personalize their fan experience. Since early March, Facebook has been updating their APIs and platform policies to better protect fan data from exploitation.
On April 4, the Instagram API was suddenly reduced for publicly available data without notice, regardless of the fact these changes were originally scheduled for July (as mentioned in our February update). Although the impact to our largely first-party data platform is minimal, our Stream product has been affected alongside every other developer that provides Facebook and Instagram user-generated content to their clients.
As Facebook continually reviews their terms and API, we’ve always followed and adapted accordingly. This situation is no different, and we have already updated our platform. As part of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming on May 25th, Facebook is making further adjustments which we have already prepared for with the preemptive features we launched immediately following their initial announcement. We are also currently working with our clients to ensure all of their custom projects are compliant with GDPR by the deadline (contact us if you need help or have questions).
We will continue to closely watch all changes to the Facebook and Instagram APIs and keep you informed. The most important thing to understand is that despite these updates, our platform and our commitment to protecting fan data remains stronger than ever:
- We only collect, on behalf of our clients, first-party personal information that fans explicitly share directly with our clients
- We never share fan data across clients and have never sold any data (anonymized or not) to any third party
- The only public (unauthenticated) content we collect is publicly available social data (posts) that anyone can access via official social network APIs
- We comply with the privacy policies of all our social media partners and have preemptively rolled out updates ahead of GDPR to ensure our compliance
- We do not collect or store data on any persons under the age of 13 years old, and thus are COPPA compliant.
- We do not scrape content from any social media platform or third-party apps
With the most recent changes to the Facebook and Instagram APIs, some of our platform features have required updates. Below are some questions that you may have about what’s going on. Some changes are still ongoing, but we will be in touch with updates as they come.
How is the Tradable Bits platform affected?
Stream - UGC Aggregator
First note that any content and data you have already collected will not be affected by these changes. Also, these updates affected no other collection networks besides Facebook and Instagram. Updates are as follows:
- You can still collect public Instagram posts by hashtag, geolocation or an owned account. You can no longer directly track all of the content published by an unowned account, or posts that any of your authorized accounts have liked.
- You can still collect public posts on your own authorized Facebook Page, but can no longer pull public posts from any Facebook page you do not own.
- You can still identify the username of your Stream post authors, but can no longer view the profile image or the full name of your Stream authors.
- Facebook has stopped categorizing public posts by “Topic” and therefore there is no longer any way to pull public posts from Facebook by users.
- You currently cannot generate comments to your Instagram account through our (or any) platform, so sending comments based on a label or manually in moderation is no longer available. We are reworking granted rights permissions for Instagram in light of this update and will keep you posted on our solution.
- Instagram now limits the amount of times you can pull content from an authorized account. They allow a maximum of 200 calls per user, per hour. You’ll only notice this if you’re using the same Instagram account to pull over 25 feeds at the same time. You can fix this by using different usernames for different Streams and making sure you’re never collecting more than 25 feeds per Stream (highly unlikely use case). Contact us for help.
- Analytics on your followers (seeing who follows you, tracking followers over time, most influential followers, etc.) has been revoked from all providers, including us.
Engagement Campaigns - Contests + Activations
Since the vast majority of Engagement Campaigns only deal with explicitly authorized private fan data, they remain largely unaffected by these updates. However, there a few minor changes:
- Our “Instagram” Facebook tab app can now only pull content via hashtag and authorized brand account
- HTTPS is now enforced on all engagement campaign URLs, so all custom domain campaigns must be configured with an SSL certification. Contact us for help.
- There is a link for fans to unsubscribe from data processing (targeted ads) or to erase all of their data from your Fan CRM, at the bottom of any form that collects fan data on our platform
What platform updates have we deployed? What’s coming soon?
- We are GDPR compliant and have rolled out a “Right to Erasure” form for all Engagement Campaigns and anywhere else pixels are used for targeting. A link appears in the footer of all activations, where fans can go to erase all data you’ve collected about them with one button.
- As Instagram prepares to retire hashtag collection in favour of mention collection, we have been building a better management system for tracking and collecting posts that mention your brand on Instagram. We notified our clients in February about this change and are continuing to work with them to adjust their marketing plans and customer relations policies to encourage fans to tag their brands instead of relying on an official hashtag. Contact us for help.
- We’re prepared to apply for the new extended permissions Facebook has identified as soon as they reopen the submission process. This will allow us to continue serving fans and their friends.
- We’ve deployed several Spotify authentication engagement campaigns (Lineup Predictor, Promo, etc) to diversify your fan data collection. More of these are coming soon.
- We’re creating new ways to engage your fans at your events beyond social walls. Our AR Towers are not only highly engaging for fans, but great for sponsorship.
- Given the heightened focus on your owned brand accounts on Facebook and Instagram, we’re building new products that will help you better leverage your Facebook Page insights so you can better serve your Facebook and Instagram followers.
Our team is continually working with Facebook and Instagram to build the best (and most secure) platform for fan-based marketing. Rest assured that regardless of these updates, we are largely unaffected and are continually adapting as quickly as possible when changes do come. We’ve always been committed to fan data security and are confident that our ethical way of doing business with our clients will remain uninterrupted.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to our team with any additional questions. We’re always happy to help or explain further on a call.
Thank you for working with us to build the best possible fan experiences.