Facebook Deprecates APIs To Limit Devs' Access To Your Profile

Something's in the air. Maybe it's spring, or maybe it's the scrutiny that comes with a major scandal, but either way it's clear that Facebook wants to clean house. Shortly after revealing new privacy tools, changing its platform policies, and fending off questions from lawmakers around the world, the company announced that it's deprecating several APIs to limit app developers' access to your information or ability to post on your profile.

Countless apps rely on Facebook's platform to function. Many use the platform to handle identities--why make someone remember another username-password combo when they can just sign on with Facebook?--while others simply let people share all kinds of stuff in their timeline. Still others let you RSVP to events, get more out of Facebook messages, and otherwise handle little digital inconveniences as smoothly as possible.

Now some of those abilities will be restricted. Facebook said in a blog post that it's deprecating several APIs as part of its efforts to update its platform. These changes almost certainly result from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that exposed just how much information developers can gather from Facebook--and how little the company did to regulate the use of that data. Now, thanks to public outcry, that's starting to change.

Most of the changes Facebook announced are small: Apps can no longer RSVP to events for you, for example, and the permission that let devs "publish posts to Facebook as the logged in user" will also be revoked. Facebook also said the "Messenger Expressions SDK, which allowed apps to attach their apps' name and logo to images, videos, GIFs, and sound clips that people share in conversations with their friends, will be deprecated."

Individually, these might seem like innocuous changes. Taken together, however, it's clear that Facebook is working to limit what developers can and can't do via its platform. No longer will you have to wonder if your childhood friend actually shared that weird herbal supplement ad or if some app did it on their behalf. And little tidbits of information that were previously handed out like candy on Halloween will now be more carefully rationed.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.