After the 24 October your routine of embedding Instagram photos to your WordPress blog will no longer be a simply copy and paste. From the 24 October 2020, FaceBook will not longer support the near universal approach to embedding content.
WordPress bloggers wanting to continue embedding content on their website have the option of (a) doing nothing (b) creating an app on FaceBook or (c) using one of the plugin solutions.
Whys is FaceBook removing embed functionality?
The web is meant for sharing stuff – especially memes. It makes sense that there would be a consistent way to embed content across websites. It is called the Oembed. FaceBook which owns Instagram (and about two hours of your attention daily) has decided to drop support for Oembed. It is a decision consistent with FaceBook strategy of keeping people on FaceBook.
FaceBook now requires website owners to use the API. That means one has to register a developer account and create an app on FaceBook. Here is the problem. WordPress cannot register as a developer nor claim ownership over the app. As a result many, WordPress website owners have a challenge.
What happens on your website?
Should you not do anything, you will:
- Not be able to embed content from FaceBook
- Embeds currently on your site will stop working, but once you update permalinks
The impact on your site could be big or inconsequential depending on your website. However, embeds not working will impact on the user experience.
What should you do?
You have three options:
- Do nothing
- Register a developer account and create an app
- Use one of the plugins that provide support for continued embeds.
The following plugins are providing support for embeds.
1. Do Nothing
FaceBook is a large and dominate player and has been setting rules. Website owners need to assess the linkage between FaceBook and your website. Your website is what is described as as “owned asset”. An owned asset is
Any marketing content that your company creates and has complete control over it.
I like the idea of being less reliant on third-party sites, especially social media sites that seek to keep people more and more inside their sites.
2. Create an App on FaceBook
This looks a bit complicated. Here is the link. The requirements are:
- 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
To be fair, the setup is not that complicated. And in addition provides you – the website owner – with a higher level of control. Overall, this is a complicated solution for most non-technical founders, but once it is setup it should not require much maintenance.
There are several plugins that are available that provide a solution. My understanding is that these plugins are compliant with the new rules and use the FaceBook API.
This plugin removes some of the friction for website owners not comfortable to tinkering with the website. Website owners will however need to setup a developer account
Adds support for embedding Facebook and Instagram posts in Block Editor (Gutenberg) and Classic Editor.
Smash Balloon has two plugins. One for Facebook and one for Instagram. In the announcment SmashBalloon – which is part of Awesome Motive indicates that:
Today, we’re super excited to announce the release of Custom Facebook Feed Pro 3.16 and Instagram Feed Pro 5.8 plugins! By using these latest versions, you can continue embedding Facebook or Instagram content on your website by pasting the post URL into your editor. Plus, your existing Facebook and Instagram embeds will keep working on your website. This way, you can continue making the most of your social media marketing to grow your business over time. Let’s take a closer look at how it all works.SmashBalloon
Smash Balloon Social Post Feed
Formerly “Custom Facebook Feed”. Display completely customizable Facebook feeds of a Facebook page or Group. Supports Facebook oEmbeds.
Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed
Formerly “Instagram Feed”. Display clean, customizable, and responsive Instagram feeds from multiple accounts. Supports Instagram oEmbeds.
JetPack which is owned by Automattic reached a solution by working with FaceBook. The result is the same, a simple way to embed and older embeds remain active. JetPack in an email to subscribers motivated for its decision on our behalf as follows in an email to JetPack users:
We understand that many of you that run websites aren’t developers, so we wanted to find a way to simplify this transition for you. There’s no need to update any settings. Just by having Jetpack 9.0 or later installed, you can continue to embed links to Facebook and Instagram like usual. To update your version of Jetpack,
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Which options should you choose?
On WPossible we are simply updated to the newest version of JetPack. On this site I have no embeds from FaceBook and Instagram. For other sites, you will need to evaluate the options. Your choice will be guided by your level of skill and your experiences with the plugins on offer. But the most important criteria is that you must have a higher level of control over your website.