Instagram Urgent Algorithm Update. RIP: “Social Blade”
In today’s blogpost I want to talk about Instagram’s latest and possibly most impactful update so far. Instagram has launched their latest update, an update that affects many companies related to Instagram. They have made changes to their API (application program interface). An API is a set of tools, protocols and routines for the purpose of making software applications. They specify and determine how components of software ought to interact. They are also used at the time of programming GUI (graphical user interface) components.
Analytics blocked, including “Social Blade”
Instagram has blocked all the means that analytics companies previously used to get their information off of Instagram. One of these companies is called “Social Blade.” Social Blade is a website for statistics, allowing you to measure your stats and growth across a wide variety of social media platforms, including Twitch and YouTube. It is a software application that is used primarily to monitor your online followers’ presence. Social Blade used to be one of the best analytics software for Instagram. Instagram has effectively brought Social Blade’s Instagram operations to an end, blocking Social Blades’ analytics feature’s access to their API. This means that Social Blade can no longer do what they’re supposed to do, generate statistics for your Instagram account. Social Blade used to be the best and easiest method to check if there was something wrong with an account, such as whether their ‘likes’ were fake or not. All of this no longer works. Social Blade reportedly got in touch with Instagram, asking to have their access restored. Instagram, in all likelihood, refused this request. This means that if you’re involved in Instagram Analytics service, you’re probably out of a job.
Possible reasons why Instagram has taken this step
One of the reasons why Instagram has blocked all analytic companies from their API could be the European Union’s Data Protection Directive. This was first promulgated in 1995 but has undergone reform in May 2018. It applies one set of data protection rules for all companies operating in the EU, wherever they may be based. The stronger rules give people more control over their data and benefit businesses by the creation of a level playing field. It may have caused Instagram to take this major step.
Another possible reason why Instagram has done this could be the data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, where the data collected by Cambridge Analytica of some 87 million Facebook users was used to influence the opinions of voters, with Cambridge Analytica serving the politicians who had hired them. After this was discovered, there was great public outcry and Facebook was forced to apologize, admitting that the way the data was collected and the use it was put to was ‘inappropriate.’ Instagram may have cut off the analytics feature of companies to avoid a similar scandal within their own platform.
A third, and perhaps likeliest reason why Instagram have done this is that it is an effort to get rid of bots. Instagram doesn’t like bots. They’re trying everything to get rid of bots, bots from other software that interacting with real Instagram users. Instagram is increasingly trying to mold itself into an advertising platform, as evidenced by the addition of their recent shopping feature, allowing people to shop within Instagram. The shop feature is likely to become more honed and advanced and contain greater advertising. In this milieu, they don’t want bots interacting on their platform; they want real users who will make purchases. Otherwise their advertisers will not have an incentive to market their products on their platform.
Predictions for the future
Instagram has its own analytics, which have been revamped and split tested in the past. With the move to block the access of other analytics companies, this feature of Instagram is set to become more sophisticated and more versatile, allowing users to conduct more in-depth research into Instagram accounts. The recent updates made to their analytics were mainly to do with user experience and design. But you can expect bigger and better updates to be in the works, updates that allow them to do what third-party platforms had been doing up until now.
Instagram stories, a feature that allows users to publish photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, is also set to become more prominent. The analytics pertaining to Instagram stories, which are bare and minimalistic at the moment, will, in all likelihood, also become more advanced, like YouTube analytics already are. Other changes Instagram has introduced a new focus feature, that allows you to blur your background when taking your own selfie. There is also talk of a new button that allows you to see top posts versus recent posts. Apart from that, there aren’t any major changes to the Instagram model.
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