A change which is set to roll out on October 24 will break embedded Facebook and Instagram content on WordPress sites.
To be specific, an upcoming API update will remove support for unauthenticated Facebook and Instagram embeds.
That means, after October 24, embedded content will only be supported for publishers with a Facebook developer account and a registered Facebook app.
The change is retroactive, so all Facebook and Instagram embeds on the sites of unauthenticated publishers will soon become broken. This has the potential to affect millions of sites.
Meeting Facebook’s new requirements for embedded content is not an option for all publishers. Creating a Facebook developer account and registering a Facebook app is far from being a practical solution.
So what are publishers to do if they want to embed content from Facebook and Instagram on their web pages?
Here’s more about what’s changing, why it’s changing, and what publishers can do to prepare for it.
Changes to Facebook oEmbed Endpoints
In developer terms – the current oEmbed endpoints for embeddable Facebook content will be deprecated on October 24, 2020.
oEmbed is an open format designed to allow embedding content from a website into another page.
Facebook oEmbed endpoints allow you to get embed HTML and basic metadata for pages, posts, and videos in order to display them in another website or app.
There’s currently an oEmbed endpoint built into Facebook’s API, which has allowed publishers to easily embed content from Facebook and Instagram on their web pages.
Facebook’s API will soon be dropping support for that endpoint.
Further, in response to Facebook’s API change, WordPress is removing Facebook and Instagram as an oEmbed source.
What does this all mean for publishers?
In plain language – the combination of these changes from Facebook, Instagram, and WordPress means a whole lot of content will be broken.
If you have ever embedded content from Facebook and Instagram on your WordPress website, then this change affects you.
Facebook only offers one solution, which is to meet its stringent set of new requirements.
New requirements include:
- A Facebook Developer account, which you can create at developers.facebook.com
- A registered Facebook app
- The oEmbed Product added to the app
- An Access Token
- The Facebook app must be in Live Mode
If that sounds at all like a realistic solution for you, then you can get more information on the Facebook developer blog.
Thankfully, there are more realistic solutions available though the use of WordPress plugins.
Fix Facebook & Instagram Embeds With Plugins
While this change hasn’t rolled out yet, plugin developers have been working hard to prepare simple solutions for site owners.
Here are a couple of options available so far.
A new plugin called oEmbed Plus, by developer Ayesh Karunaratne, brings back support for Facebook and Instagram content embedding.
Even with this plugin installed, publishers will have to register a Facebook developer account and “create” an app.
Note that you will not have to actually create a real app, it will only exist on paper.
Check out the walkthrough here to see what’s involved.
Although there are a few hoops to jump through, this plugin does make the process easier than doing everything on your own.
Smash Balloon Plugins
A development company called Smash Balloon, whose plugins are used on over 1.4 million sites, offers an even easier solution.
The company has updated its existing plugins with fixes for broken Facebook and Instagram embeds.
With the plugins from Smash Balloon you will not have to go through the process of registering a Facebook developer account and creating an app.
That’s because Smash Balloon already has the API key required to create custom feeds for both Facebook and Instagram. There’s no additional authentication needed to restore embedded content.
Smash Balloon offers dedicated plugins Instagram and Facebook.
After installing the plugins go to the oEmbed navigation menu and then click on the Connect button.
All plugins mentioned in this article are free.
Sources: Facebook for Developers (1, 2), core.trac.wordpress.org, WordPress Tavern