Earlier this month, some third-party applications were hit by changes to the Facebook Groups API. Until recently, Facebook's API allowed all social media applications to schedule posts to Facebook Groups. But with the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook rolled back this API for many developers. Social Report is not included in this ban.
Social Report was pre-approved to use the new Groups API, so nothing is changing here. You can continue to schedule posts and view analytics as normal. We're writing this piece to fill you in on the situation and to keep you rest assured that you can manage your Facebook Groups with us.
So, What Changed?
Unfortunately, a lot.
Nowadays, new applications wishing to schedule posts to Facebook Groups have to jump through hoops to do so. Starting in early April, Facebook suspended its Groups and Events API without any notice. In fact, all apps (except ones from pre-approved developers) were revoked API access. Immediately.
How's that for a panic?!
But Facebook isn't entirely killing its Groups public API. Going forward, third-party apps must first go through a formal review process before gaining access to the Groups or Events API. Additionally, approved applications must get explicit approval from a Group's admin before they're able to post or interact with a Facebook Group.
As a strategic partner, Social Report has already been pre-approved for Facebook Groups API.
Facebook hasn't started publicly reviewing new Groups apps. The company is still reviewing its API policies and app review process. Facebook has explicitly stated that it won't publicly review new Groups apps until these are finalized, so we don't know when new Groups apps will hit the scene.
Run a Facebook Group? Check out these tips to expand your reach.
The Carnage Isn't Pretty
These changes have had devastating effects on some social media scheduling apps and other services that interact with the Groups API. Some Groups scheduling tools that weren't pre-approved for the new API have been forced to shutter completely since the API was suspended; others are scrambling to change business models or are waiting for updates from Facebook.
Social Media Managers are having a tough time with the changes too. Groups have been gaining popularity in recent years with Facebook making it harder for Pages to rank in user's Newsfeeds. So even as more people begin to use Groups, some Social Media Managers are being forced to scramble to find a new scheduling app.
Using Social Report with Facebook Groups
Like discussed earlier, Social Report is pre-approved to use the new Groups API, so no changes here. Facebook Group managers can use Social Report to schedule posts and view detailed Groups analytics without loading Facebook's website.
If you're an existing Social Report user, the Groups posting experience has stayed the same—no action is required on your part. If you're a new user, here's how to link your Group to Social Report.
Start your free Social Report trial today!
Why The Changes, Anyway?
The reason for these changes—as noted earlier—is Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal. In short, Facebook shared the data of over 87 million of its users with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The group consulted with big names such as the Trump 2016 campaign, and used the data to help them market on social media.
Since then, Facebook has made a number of changes to its platform. Some relate to their developer APIs, and others are more front-end. For example, Facebook users now have easier access to privacy settings.
Groups and Events aren't the only APIs currently restricted. Messenger, Graph, Search, and other Facebook APIs have been either restricted to pre-approved developers or completely depreciated since the scandal. Check out this blog post for more info.
It's great to see Facebook show commitment to its user’s privacy. However, losing access to the Groups API has been devastating to some in the social media world. Again, Social Report is pre-approved to use the new Facebook Groups API. You can keep using our service to schedule posts and view analytics, so you always have a seamless Groups posting experience. Ready to take your Facebook Groups experience to the next level? Start your Social Report trial today!