Meta cuts off third-party access to Facebook Groups, leaving developers and customers in disarray

The recent surprise announcement that Meta will soon be shutting down its Facebook Groups API is throwing some businesses and social media marketers into disarray.

On January 23, Meta announced the release of its Facebook Graph API v19.0, which included the news that the company would be deprecating its existing Facebook Groups API. The latter, which is used by developers and businesses to schedule posts to Facebook Groups, will be removed within 90 days, Meta said. This includes all the Permissions and Reviewable Features associated with the API, it also noted.

Meta explained that a major use case for the API was a feature that allowed developers to privately reply in Facebook Groups. For example, a small business that wanted to send a single message to a person who posted on their Facebook Group or who had commented in the group could be messaged through the API. However, Meta said that another change in the new v19.0 API would enable this feature, without the need for the Groups API.

But developers told TechCrunch that the shutdown of the API would cause problems for companies that offer solutions to customers who want to schedule and automate their social media posts. For example, explained Adam Peterson, the CEO of VipeCloud, which provides a suite of tools for scheduling social media posts, the API’s closure will have a “noticeable impact” on his business, as about 8% of his total revenue is on the chopping block. His company serves some 5,000 Facebook accounts, primarily those belonging to female entrepreneurs, he noted.

These customers rely on VipeCloud’s access to Facebook’s APIs to publish publicly to their Facebook Pages, but also post privately to Groups to communicate with their team. The private groups are used as something of a Slack alternative by these small businesses, he says.

“Every single one of our customers is freaking out,” says Peterson.

Other customers of the Groups API may rely on automations that are scheduled by the business’s agency partners, some of which will be disproportionally impacted by the API’s closure.

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