Business of Fashion/ Maghan McDowell/ April 12, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Less than a week before Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg donned a suit to testify before the United States Congress, influencer monetisation platform sent an email to users: “As of today, you will be able to shop Instagram content exclusively with a screenshot, as like-based shopping will no longer be supported due to changes in Facebook/Instagram’s third-party access to likes.”

It was a short message with big meaning.

The Instagram shopping service could no longer use the “likes” on influencer posts to send registered users emails with associated product information and buy buttons. It was one of the unexpected repercussions from Instagram parent company Facebook’s tightened privacy policy amid a cascade of criticism in the wake of the platform’s Cambridge Analytica data privacy debacle. An April 4 announcement from Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer entitled “An Update on Our Plans to Restrict Data Access on Facebook” mostly focused on changes to Facebook — including changes to how outside apps can access events, groups and pages — with just one sentence announcing a decision to effectively shut down Instagram’s existing application programming interface, or API.

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