In its scramble to deal with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook has inadvertently (or intentionally) thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into the works of third-party developers. Both Tinder and Instagram devs have been working overtime trying to fix problems caused by Facebook tightening its security to appease the public over privacy issues.
According to New York Magazine, on Wednesday some changes were made that caused login problems for the Tinder app. Users found themselves unexpectedly logged out of the service and unable to log back in. An apparent change to an API had resulted in a feedback loop between Facebook and Tinder.
Upon opening the app, users were presented with the login screen. If they chose to log in using Facebook, a new screen appeared asking them to update their Facebook permissions. Tapping on the “Ask Me” button below the message just sent them back to the login screen again rather than allowing them to update their permissions.
People flocked to Twitter to complain, and some of the tweets were quite amusing.
My Tinder Tweetdeck column is full of people freaking because Facebook's privacy changes appear to have somehow goofed up Tinder and now how will people ever have sex again!!! pic.twitter.com/FJZ6XxvizX— Madison Malone Kircher (@4evrmalone) April 4, 2018
@Tinder why did you log me out and are you not letting me log in. how am i supposed to meet the love of my life— devyn (@dweidnerrr) April 4, 2018
Facebook’s API changes just broke Tinder. It throws you into an endless login loop. Bravo to Facebook for being considerate of their only valuable product. pic.twitter.com/QbJA1uTi0v— Daniel Sinclair (@_DanielSinclair) April 4, 2018
Developers heard the horny cries of anguish and had the problem fixed as of late Wednesday evening.
“A technical issue prevented some users from accessing our service earlier today,” said a Tinder representative. “We found a resolution and quickly resumed service. We ask our users to ensure that they have updated the app and are running the most recent version.”
Shortly after the Tinder issue was resolved, Instagram began having complications. Since Facebook controls Instagram, there was not a problem with the app itself, but rather with third-party content providers.
"We understand that this may affect your business or services, and we appreciate your support in keeping our platform secure."
Business Insider reports that Instagram had notified third-party developer that it would be depreciating its API by the end of July. However, they apparently decided to accelerate the schedule no notice — well, they did give notice, but it was after the fact.
One developer said that he woke up Thursday morning to an inbox full of error messages in his email. The errors began rolling in at around 8:00 pm Wednesday night, but Facebook did not send out notification of the changes until sometime Thursday morning.
While BI only spoke with one developer, the changes listed in the email indicate that the backend of Instagram is completely changed and as such, most if not all third-party applications that integrate with Instagram will no longer work without modification.
“The changes will impact a multitude of apps that provide add-on services to Instagram: think about the sheer plethora of apps that let you track your metrics or edit your photos specifically for Instagram.”
The sudden shift may have resulted from Wednesday's revelation that most of Facebook’s 2 billion users have had their data scraped by “malicious actors.” It was also revealed that Cambridge Analytica had gathered the data on more than 87 million users rather than the 50 million that was initially reported.
The problems with Instagram and Tinder are only the beginning. As Facebook continues to tighten the damage-control screws, we can expect more apps that interact with the platform and its subsidiaries to encounter problems.