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Facebook and Instagram Drop Support for Unsigned WordPress Embeds

Posted on October 20th, 2020

Have you recently been smacked in the face by error messages like “unexpected JSON response” or a “View on Instagram” text instead of the embedded image you were anticipating?

Well, the source of your problems is an October 24th API update that dropped support for Unauthenticated Instagram and Facebook embeds on WordPress sites. The good old days of pasting a link to an Instagram or Facebook post in your WordPress and watching it turn into a good-looking embed are now behind us (kind of).

When the update rolled out, only publishers with a registered Facebook app and a Facebook developer account could embed content into their sites. And keep in mind that this change extends to prior content—meaning that some embeds from the past will break.

Read on for more on what you need to know about the potentially huge change and effective workarounds.

What Exactly Changed?

What the API did was deprecate the existing oEmbed endpoints. If you’re not familiar with the term, oEmbed is a design that allows users to embed content from another page into a website. It grabs basic metadata and HTML for videos, posts, and pages for display in another app or site.

Facebook’s API had oEmbed endpoint built into its framework—but that is no longer the case. WordPress also removed Instagram and Facebook as oEmbed sources in response to the October 24th update.

Possible Plugin Solutions to Fix Broken Instagram and Facebooks Embeds

In order to successfully embed content from Facebook, you now have to meet some stringent measures—including:

  • Open a Facebook Developer account at developer.facebook.com
  • A Facebook app (registered) that’s in Live Mode.
  • The oEmbed product should be added to your Facebook app.
  • You must have an access token.

But as you can guess, this process is hectic, complicated, simply not viable for some users. Luckily, plugin developers have rolled some simpler solutions for their users as shown below.

Solution A – oEmbed Plus

Developer Ayesh Karunaratne created a plugin that fixes broken Instagram and Facebook embeds. Here are the steps to active oEmbed Plus:

  1. Install the oEmbed Plus plugin ( it’s free on WordPress.org).
  2. Navigate to the Facebook for Developers console and click on “Create App” (assuming you already have a Facebook account). Select “Something Else” and enter your details in the prompt that pops up. After successfully clicking “Create App,” you’ll be redirected to a dashboard. Find the oEmbed option and click “Set Up” to add its permissions to your app. Now enter your website’s URL and Privacy Policy URL (under Settings>Basic) and toggle the “Live” button at the top. Copy the values in the “App ID” and “App Secret” boxes for use in the next step.
  3. In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Facebook and Instagram Embed Settings” and paste your App ID and App Secret values.
  4. Aaaand…you’re pretty much done. Embed away!

Solution B – Alternative Plugins

Developers have been busy making life for their clients easier. Several plugin updates are being rolled out to circumnavigate the new embedding restrictions.

For example, a development company known as Smash Balloon offers dedicated Facebook and Instagram plugin updates that allow users to embed content without the need for additional authentication.

 

Notes for Ancell Marketing:

Since the update has already rolled out, I wrote the piece post-October 24 since users have already experienced the drop in Facebook and Instagram embed support. So this post is more of a problem-solution kind of article.

Here’s one of the reference links I used: https://wplift.com/facebook-embeds-stopped-working