Meta announced that starting tomorrow it's introducing Reels APIs to several endpoints on the Instagram Platform for developers. The company says it's introducing the new Reels APIs after hearing from its developer community that Reels is a top priority. Meta is expanding the scope of support of Reels to content publishing, insights, comment moderation, hashtag search, business discovery, mentions and more.
Developers will be able to use the APIs to schedule Reels and get social interaction metrics for Reels. Developers can also publish Reels on Instagram Business accounts using the new APIs. The APIs will also let developers reply to comments, delete comments, hide/unhide comments and disable/enable comments on Reels. In addition, developers will be able to find public Reels that have been tagged with specific hashtags. Developers will also be able to identify Reels in which an Instagram Business or Creator's alias has been tagged or @mentioned.
The API enhancement will be available for the current version and all previous versions of the Instagram Graph API, which allows developers to connect their app to Instagram's features and functionalities. Meta says Reels will become automatically available for developers who already have access to the applicable APIs. Developers won't need to put their app through additional App Review, as long as their app has already been approved for the appropriate permission access levels.
"Beginning tomorrow, June 28, 2022, we will begin introducing Reels to several endpoints on the Instagram Platform," the company said in a blog post. "We are always looking to improve our content publishing and consumption experiences, whether people use Instagram natively, or via a third-party. After consistently hearing from our developer community that Reels is a top priority, we are excited to introduce Reels to a number of the endpoints that you may already be familiar with."
Starting tomorrow, around 25% of Instagram user accounts will have access to all Reels APIs. The APIs will gradually roll out to 100% of users by July 6.
The launch of the Reels APIs comes as Meta has been betting big on the short-form video feature. As part of its Q1 2022 earnings, the company revealed that Reels now makes up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram. At the time, Mark Zuckerberg outlined that since starting Facebook 18 years ago, the company has seen multiple shifts in the media types that people use and that short-form video is only the latest iteration and is growing quickly. He outlined that while Meta is seeing an increase in short-form video, it’s also seeing a major shift in the advancement of AI recommendations driving more of its feeds, for both posts and Reels.
He elaborated that feeds are going from being exclusively curated by users’ social circles to being recommended by AI. TikTok’s powerful recommendation algorithm is one of the reasons behind its immense popularity, which is why it makes sense for Meta to focus on enhancing its own recommendation systems to get people to interact with Reels more, and in turn, be better aligned to compete with TikTok.