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Facebook API Change – Displaying Feeds from Facebook Pages you Don’t Have Access to – September 4, 2020

In this article:  How Will This Affect Me?PPCA Error | Does This Affect Facebook Groups? | Connecting Multiple Facebook Pages | Do I Need to Update the Plugin? | Using the Multifeed Extension | Why is This Change Being Made?

Due to changes in the Facebook API, after September 4, 2020, it will only be possible to display feeds from Facebook pages which you have access to (i.e. have a role on).  We apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this may cause, but unfortunately this change is beyond our control.  See below for more information on Facebook’s explanation for this change.  This will impact all current users of the Custom Facebook Feed free and Pro plugins and may require you to take action.

How Will This Affect Me?

There are two main ways that this may affect users of our plugin, depending on whether you are an admin of the Facebook page you are trying to display.

1) I am an admin of (or have a role on) the Facebook page

You can still use the plugin to display content from any Facebook page(s) that you have a role on (Administrator, Editor, Moderator, Advertiser, or Analyst).  If you have a role on the Facebook page then you can connect your account by using the “Connect a Facebook account” button on the plugin settings page and then display your feed.

For further help on reconnecting your Facebook page, or if you have tried reconnecting your account and are receiving a PPCA Error (Public Page Content Access), then please refer to this article.

Note: To prevent disruption to your feeds, please make sure that you have the relevant Facebook page connected on the plugin Settings page and are using this to display the feed, or that you are using an Access Token for that specific Facebook page.  If you are using an Access Token from another Facebook page to display your feed then it may stop working after this change goes into affect.  To check which Facebook page an Access Token is for, see here.  If you are using the latest version of the plugin (v3.14) then if you will see a PPCA Error notice above your feed if you need to take action.  If you don’t see a PPCA Error notice then no action is required.

2) I do NOT have a role on the Facebook page

Unfortunately, due to this change it will no longer be possible to use the plugin to display a Facebook feed from a Facebook page you don’t have access to.  We understand that this is frustrating and an inconvenience and we apologize for this.  Unfortunately, we don’t have control over the changes that Facebook makes to their platform and can only do our best to adapt our plugin to accommodate them.

If you need to display a Facebook feed from someone else’s Facebook page then there are three options:

  1. Ask an admin of the Facebook page to give you a role on the page. That way you can connect the page inside the plugin and display it on your website.  Please note that if you are removed from the page at a later date then you will no longer be able to display the feed.
  2. Ask someone with a role on the page to obtain an Access Token using this tool and send it to you. You can then use the “Manually connect account” button on the plugin settings page to connect the account and display the feed.
  3. Use the Facebook Page Plugin widget. This will allow you to display a feed from any public Facebook page, however, it has limited customization options.

Note: The latest version of the plugin contains a backup cache, so even if you don’t take action then a cached version of all of your feeds (even ones you aren’t an admin of) will continue to be shown initially to avoid your feeds being blank.

Why am I receiving a PPCA Error Notice for my Feed?

If you are receiving a PPCA Error notice then it means that one or more of your feeds are not using a valid Access Token for the specific Facebook page it is trying to display.  Please see here for directions on how to resolve this.

Does This Affect Facebook Groups?

No, this change does not affect Facebook groups. Feeds from Facebook groups can continue to be displayed without interruption.

Connecting Multiple Facebook Pages

If you have a role on multiple Facebook pages then you can use the “Connect a Facebook account” button to connect multiple pages or groups, or use the “Manually connect account” button to add an account manually using its ID and Access Token.

Do I Need to Update the Plugin?

While we are making improvements in a plugin update to accommodate these changes, it is not necessary to update the plugin in order to use the plugin after this change goes into effect.  So long as you are using an account or Access Token for a Facebook page that you have admin access to then the feed will still continue to work.

Using the Multifeed Extension

If you are using the Multifeed extension then the same rules apply, and it is now only possible to display feeds from Facebook pages that you have access to.  To display feeds from multiple Facebook pages using the Multifeed extension, simply connect your accounts on the settings page first using the “Connect a Facebook account” button, and then use the “Add to primary feed” button to add them to your feed.

To add the accounts to a shortcode, just use the “account” shortcode option, like so:

[custom-facebook-feed account=”Facebook_page_1, Facebook_page_2, Facebook_page_3″]

Alternatively, you can use Facebook page IDs and Access Tokens and pair them like so:

[custom-facebook-feed type=events id=”page_id_1, page_id_2, page_id_3″ accesstoken=”page_id_1:access_token_1, page_id_2:access_token_2, page_id_3:access_token_3″]

Why is This Change Being Made?

Facebook recently changed the allowed use-case for their Page Public Content Access feature. Previously, it was permissible to use this feature to retrieve and display content from any public Facebook page, however, they have recently changed the allowed use-case for this feature to only be “limited to providing aggregated, anonymized public content for competitive analysis and benchmarking”.  The official statement from Facebook is below.

“The Facebook Platform Policy for Page Public Content Access (PPCA) has changed. The allowed usage is now limited to providing aggregated, anonymized public content for competitive analysis and benchmarking.

Your app was granted access to this feature before the policy change went into effect. As a result, a re-review of your app will take place September 4, 2020. If we determine your app is using PPCA in a way allowed by the new policy, no change will be made. If, however, we find your app violates the policy, access will be revoked.”

They go on to say:

“We believe people, businesses and developers deserve a safe and secure platform, and these changes will help strengthen trust with people who use our apps and drive long-term value for developers who use our platform.”

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience and frustration this change may cause. One of the ongoing challenges of building products which rely on social media platforms to power them is having no control over the changes those platforms make, some of which may negatively affect our users. We pride ourselves on our plugins always being up to date and are committed to continuing to not only accommodate any changes that Facebook may make now and in the future, but to also support and guide our users through these changes too.

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