A question that’s asked so constantly by people looking for social media tools is: Why can’t it post directly to Instagram? The bottom line is that Instagram doesn’t allow it, but let’s dive into clearing this up.
Here at Social Report, we utilize social media platforms’ APIs in order to integrate our tools with those networks. An API is an application program interface, which is basically a set of routines and protocols that allow applications to communicate with each other.
We rely on their APIs in order to request data and receive it. In the image below, Instagram’s API sends us a response gender demographics of a specific account’s followers.
Instagram API Features
Instagram’s API allows various forms of communications between social media tools and their app. Some of these features include:
- Posting Comments
- Liking Photos
- Following & Unfollowing accounts
- Searching for content
By using these API features, social media tools are able to request and receive data from Instagram and help their users visualize that data. From building analytical reports to replying to comments from a single dashboard, Instagram allows developers to use their API in order to create account management tools.
Limits to their API
Instagram, like any other social network, can limit and control what their API can and cannot do. They allow tools like Social Report to retrieve account data, ranging from follower demographics, post metrics, and even data showing influencers that are following a specific account. However, Instagram does not allow tools that use their API to post content directly to a user’s profile.
Though their reasoning may at times be unclear, they posted these 2 points on why they came to this decision a few years ago in their Developer Documentation page:
- Instagram is about your life on the go – we hope to encourage photos from within the app. However, in the future, we may give whitelist access to individual apps on a case by case basis.
- We want to fight spam & low-quality photos. Once we allow uploading from other sources, it's harder to control what comes into the Instagram ecosystem. All this being said, we're working on ways to ensure users have a consistent and high-quality experience on our platform.
The decision was made and, for now, social media tools are only able to schedule content that will be copied and pasted into the app and posted by the user.
Risky Third Party Apps
It’s true; it is possible to reverse-engineer Instagram’s API in order to schedule content to be posted Instagram directly. There’s a handful of third party apps that claim to be able to do this themselves, but to use it you’d be taking a big risk.
Instagram’s Platform Policy strictly states “Don’t reverse engineer the Instagram APIs or any of Instagram’s apps.” To act in a way that defies their policy can result in, at times, severe consequences.
Many users of such third party tools, that claim to post content directly to Instagram on your behalf, have reported that their accounts have been banned and their content removed. Even without the permanent ban, there have been many who have claimed that their content has been removed.
Whether or not you want to risk being banned or having your content taken down, you should keep in mind the security risks associated with utilizing tools that clearly defy and misuses APIs. Any of those tools would require login authentication. If they’re asking you for your password, don’t trust them. Your clients trust you with their secure account information, don’t do them a disservice of using tools that put their accounts at risk.
Making it Simple
At Social Report, we acknowledge this limitation to Instagram’s API and have created features to allow you to optimize your time in posting to Instagram. We’ve created 3 ways to allow you to schedule and publish content.
Publish Via App
By downloading the Social Report app, available for iOS and Android, and connecting it to your account, you can begin scheduling content to be posted to your selected Instagram profile. Once a scheduled content is set to be posted, you will receive a notification on your phone. You can easily open Instagram and paste the content from there.
Publish Via E-mail
You can select email addresses associated with your account and have the scheduled content be sent via email. Again, all that’s left is to paste the content directly into the Instagram app.
Publish Via SMS
Any users that will be posting content to Instagram using Social Report can have their phone number verified on the portal. That way, scheduled content, including photos and captions, can be sent via SMS in order to be published in the Instagram app.