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Facebook API changes affecting groups – September 2021

Updated September 1, 2021

There are two recent Facebook API changes that affect displaying content from Facebook groups:

  1. In May 2021, a Facebook change went into affect which means that it is no longer possible to retrieve content from a Facebook group that is older than 90 days.
  2. In August, 2021, a Facebook change went into affect which prevents posts from being displayed which were created in your group before adding our Smash Balloon app to your group.

Why have these changes been made?

The official statements from Facebook regarding these changes are:
“To align with other Facebook data retention policies, the Groups API will only include data created within the last 90 days of your queries.”
“Due to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), an app can only access group posts published after the app was installed on the group.”.

How do these changes affect existing users?

If you are using the Custom Facebook Feed plugin to display content from a Facebook Group then after this date only content from the past 90 days will be able to be retrieved from Facebook.  If your group has regular activity, then you likely won’t even notice this change as there will be sufficient activity in the past 90 days to fill up your feed.

How do they affect new users?

If you are using the Custom Facebook Feed plugin to display content from a Facebook Group for the first time, then during the setup process you will be prompted to add our Smash Balloon Facebook app to your group. The plugin will only be able to retrieve posts from your group from after this app is added. Previous posts are unable to be retrieved due to this Facebook restriction. As this restriction is based on the current CCPA law, then it may change in the future.

What is Smash Balloon doing to help users with this?

As soon as Facebook announced this change we immediately started working on updates to both our free and Pro plugins to make this change less impactful for our users.  In the most recent update (Free: v2.19.1, Pro v3.19.3) we have added a “persistent caching” feature.  This will work in two ways:

  1. If you updated the plugin before May 25, 2021, then the plugin would have automatically retrieved and stored the last 100 posts from the Facebook API for your group, including those older than 90 days.
  2. Any new posts in your group going forward will be added to this persistent cache and stored (up to 150 posts total).

This means that you’ll be able to display this content from your group beyond 90 days, even once it is no longer available in the Facebook API.

We have implemented similar caching systems in our other plugins for Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube plugin in the past too, to help minimize the affect of API changes and limitations on users, as we are committed to ensuring our plugins are the most reliable, well maintained, and user-focused social media plugins available.


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