ThinkUp works by gathering your social networking data from services like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and then analyzing it to provide insights. These services provide APIs (application programming interfaces) that allow us to gather this data — but it’s only the data they permit us to access, and only under the terms they dictate. Last year, Facebook greatly limited the kinds of data we could collect (some of this was for good reason, because other apps were using the same data to violate people’s privacy); we did a lot of work to handle these changes but the net result was that we lost a lot of ThinkUp’s Facebook features.
This week, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) did something similar. They made significant changes to their APIs, in order to focus companies like ours on working in one of three categories. Basically, what ThinkUp is doing, and the kinds of analysis we’re trying to provide, doesn’t fall neatly into the categories Instagram wants to allow. And while we could probably find a technical workaround to those limitations, it would take a lot of expensive development and probably be in conflict with Instagram’s terms of service.
There is nothing open about Open APIs.
Where ‘free’ is the lie told to users, ‘Open API’ is the lie told to developers.
- Aral Balkan