According to Recode, Instagram suddenly changed the rate limit for its Platform API on Friday, decreasing the number of times a developer can use the API to ping the site for updated information. Sources say that developers were not notified of the changes before they went into effect.
Before Friday, the rate limit for Instagram’s Platform API had been 5,000 calls per hour; it is now 200 calls per hour.
In addition, some sources revealed that Instagram has cut off access to the API for some developers altogether.
These changes mean that developers cannot pull data from Instagram as often, which will have a serious impact on some industries that rely on near-constant access to that data. Industries like customer service or brand marketing, for example, are sure to be affected by the new limits, because it will be more difficult to keep up with customer complaints or posts.
Developers also told Recode that this will potentially limit the volume of information that outsiders can access – if developers need to be selective about what data calls to make, they might stop collecting data on topics or users they don’t need.
Instagram had already said that it was planning to scale back its Platform API, but it was not expected to happen so soon. In fact, the company had told developers it would start to end features of the API this summer, and to move everyone over to a more limited API by “early 2020.”
This is the latest move from Facebook after it was revealed last month that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, was able to access data on 50 million users beginning in 2014 and then utilized that information to help the Trump presidential campaign.