Instagram breaks third-party apps, services by throttling its API call limit

Instagram like counts

In what seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to its parent company’s recent leaky-data woes, Instagram has restricted third-party developers from accessing its data pool.

For users, this may sound like a welcome change, but it’s a mixed bag.

A report by TechCrunch suggests that the image-sharing social network reduced its API call limit — essentially the total number of instances a third-party app or service can request information from Instagram in an hour — from 5000 calls to just 200 calls.

This means that services fundamentally requiring high update rates — or simply services built with the original update rate in mind — are now spitting out errors.

Insta has not published any forewarning or information regarding the change, nor has it been made official, but developers familiar with its API have noted a drastic tweak.

“Does anyone have any clue why Instagram has reduced their hourly API request limit from 5000 to just 200? Is this a bug or the new normal?” asked a developer on StackOverflow.

No one seems to know either.

While the change won’t affect anyone using the official Instagram app, or Instagram on the web, you’ll likely notice errors when using third-party services today.

Feature image: Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


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