Facebook & Instagram Quit Supporting WordPress Embed Content
Facebook recently announced that it’d be deprecating all WordPress oEmbed requests for IG and FB starting October 24th. This means that if you have a WordPress website showcasing content from your social media channels, you may need to take steps to keep your business running smoothly.
Ideally, these API requests are the classic editor and Gutenberg editor’s driving force to embed videos, images, and live feeds from social media platforms. In the latest announcement from Facebook officials, a planned API update will remove support for unauthenticated embeds. They further added that after October 24th, embedded content would only be accessible to website publishers with a valid FB developer account and a registered FB app.
This change is huge and can potentially disrupt the existing content on websites managed by unauthenticated publishers. According to industry leaders, this change is the need of the hour, but it’ll also affect millions of websites worldwide.
Keep reading to learn more about how this change can affect your site and discover other alternatives to embed your Facebook feed into websites.
Changes In Facebook Integration To WordPress
Facebook announced that it’d be dropping all unauthenticated oEmbed support starting October 24th. To continue using WordPress integration with Facebook and Instagram, publishers will now be forced to generate a unique app ID alongside a valid developer account.
To better understand these changes and their impact, you must first understand the basics of APIs (application programming interface). APIs act as the connecting points between websites and other software to enable information exchange using predefined standards. One such convenient API is the oEmbed, which allows any website to display embedded content by simply using a URL to link to the content. You don’t need any coding skills to show social feeds on your website using this format.
However, with Facebook dropping unauthenticated support for this API, all WordPress website owners with embedded social feeds will need to generate an app ID and create a FB developer account. You can check the detailed changelog for ‘Facebook and Instagram oEmbed’ to learn more about these API endpoints.
As a result of these changes, WordPress will also be removing the open web API endpoints from the core code. This will likely be released in the upcoming WordPress 5.6 core update. In fact, the recently updated Gutenberg 9.0 has already removed support for these endpoints. Usually, these responses are cached in your server’s database using the ‘post meta’ or ‘the hidden oembed_cache’ (used by widgets).
Therefore, any such content added to your website before the deadline won’t be purged automatically. Unless you agree to generate a valid app ID, you’ll probably need to delete them manually. Likewise, any new embeds added after the deadline will only display a URL if your website doesn’t send Graph API requests using a valid token.
What Does It Mean For WordPress Ecommerce Sites?
In simpler terms, all of these changes from WordPress, Facebook, and Instagram will probably break a lot of content on thousands of websites. Ecommerce websites on WP rely on this feature; hence, they’re the ones that’ll be most affected by these new stringent requirements.
Many ecommerce websites embed their Instagram and Facebook feeds on their websites to drive more traffic and increase engagement. Before FB announced the changes, it was extremely easy for website owners to display the content. All they needed to do was add a relevant Facebook WordPress plugin, enter a few details and the plugin does the rest.
For more than a decade, oEmbed has allowed users to share content across websites and social networks, without any coding. With these social networks’ new measures in place, things are set to become more difficult for website owners, especially if they’re using WordPress for ecommerce. New requirements include:
- A FB developer account
- Registered Facebook app (the application should be in ‘live mode’)
- A valid access token
- The oEmbed product is added to your app’s source code
This isn’t a realistic solution for users running ecommerce websites. It’s time-consuming and requires technical knowledge. However, it needs to be done. The problem is that WP won’t automatically delete the embedded content after the October 24 deadline. Once FB stops supporting unauthenticated API requests, these embeds will display as a link and not as images or videos (see image below for more clarity).
This leaves you with two choices: follow FB’s guidelines or remove all of the links from your web pages manually.
How To Fix Facebook & Instagram Embeds?
Although the change hasn’t been rolled out yet, WordPress developers have been working continuously to develop effective solutions for website owners. A new plugin called the oEmbed Plus, designed by Ayesh Karunaratne, brings back support for embedding FB and IG content using Facebook’s new API endpoints.
This plugin is designed to help users set up the required FB developers account and app ID. Once installed, oEmbed Plus allows you to configure an API key and ‘app secret,’ helps you create a Facebook app, adds the API endpoints to your app, and switches the application to ‘live mode.’
Another easy and straightforward way to tackle this is to use the Smash Balloon plugin. It includes a free Instagram feed plugin and a custom Facebook feed plugin. Developed by Awesome Motive, this software has been downloaded over 1.2 million times.
Since Smash Balloon already needs an API key to register and create custom feeds, you don’t need to perform any additional authentication to embed your social feeds. All you need to do is upgrade to the latest version, and the features will continue to work without any issues.
Where To Look For Help?
These changes can be overwhelming, mostly because the deadline is just around the corner. In addition, WP has already removed open API support for Gutenberg and is all set to dismiss FB as an oEmbed provider in its upcoming core release.
Developers are working tirelessly to come up with accessible alternatives for site owners. As of now, two plugins have been specifically designed to tackle this issue. However, we recommend that you keep yourself informed about the changes and actionable points. Make sure to check the new blogs on Facebook for Developers, WordPress News, GitHub, and other relevant tech-news sources to prepare for these massive changes.
There’s just a week left before FB stops supporting unauthenticated API requests. If you’ve ever embedded content on your WordPress website using the default embedding features, you need to act fast. We strongly recommend that you install one of the aforementioned plugins at the earliest to save yourself from heaps of broken content across web pages.
Moving forward, make sure to re-examine how you want to include social media links within your website. As major service providers follow suit in abandoning open web APIs, it’s in your best interest to stay informed and prepared for such unprecedented changes.