2015 : the end of the 3rd party app?

2015 : the end of the 3rd party app?


Over the last 12 months we’ve seen a wave of social media platforms shut the door on 3rd party apps. From Snapchat to Whatsapp and more, we reveal the most recent (and major) bans facing social media.


Why shut out 3rd party apps?

Many third party apps are lauded for giving users “added functionality,” but in reality, unofficial 3rd party apps can prove a privacy and security risk. For example, some 3rd party Snapchat apps include the ability to download photos that were supposed to disappear and save them on camera rolls or upload photos from the gallery or camera roll – a clear breach of Snapchat’s usage terms.


The Snappening

Given Snapchat’s popularity, it’s not surprising the rise in 3rd party apps. Apps such as SaveSnap, Snap Up, SnapBox, Snapsaved, were created to allowed users to save incoming photos or share images from their phone’s camera roll.


After what was dubbed the “Snappening”; a hack of a third party app Snapsaved, in which a database of 90,000 saved Snapchat photos and video were leaked online, Snapchat decided to beef up security to prevent a reoccurrence.


Following the Snappening, Snapchat went beyond initial efforts to block the people using these apps as they now believe they have secured their API to the point of being able to lock out the 3rd party apps for good. And what’s more, in a show of support, Google and Apple are working with Snapchat to remove these apps from their app stores.


Moral of the story? Delete any third party apps ASAP or risk being locked out of your account for good.


What’s up with Whatsapp?

Snapchat is not the only app banning 3rd party or unofficial apps in a bid to protect users. Recently, Whatsapp started to ban users using third-party Whatsapp-apps and is now beginning to permanently block them.


The 3rd party Whatsapp apps are now no longer developed. Developers ceased development after they received warnings from Facebook stating their apps violate the Whatsapp user terms.


Etsy no longer friends with BETSI

In May this year Etsy pulled popular listing-management tool BETSI from its API program.


Etsy did not confirm the official reason, however their announcement indicated the developer may have violated its terms: “Ensuring that members who build tools with Etsy’s API adhere to our Terms of Use is a top priority,” the company said at the time.


Implications for small business marketing

While I don’t believe it’s the reckoning for all 3rd party apps, it’s a word of warning for users who download and use unofficial 3rd party apps to better manage their social media.


Granted, its tempting for time poor small businesses owners and marketers. But at what risk? Being permanently banned or blocked from a complete social platform just isn’t worth it.


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