As a webmaster with over 15 years of experience, I‘ve seen my fair share of WordPress issues come and go. But few have been as widespread as the recent Facebook and Instagram embed fiasco.
Based on my experience managing multiple WordPress sites, here‘s an in-depth look at exactly what happened, why your embeds are broken, and how to easily fix the problem.
- Why Were Facebook and Instagram Embeds So Popular?
- Why Did Facebook and Instagram Embeds Break?
- Identifying Broken Instagram and Facebook Embeds
- Manually Embedding Content as a Short-Term Fix
- Using Smash Balloon to Effortlessly Embed and Display Feeds
- Extra Plugins for Embedding Other Social Content
- Fix Your Broken Embeds the Easy Way
Why Were Facebook and Instagram Embeds So Popular?
Before we get into what went wrong, it helps to understand why WordPress users loved embedding Facebook and Instagram content so much:
WordPress powers over 40% of all websites – That‘s a lot of sites impacted by the embed changes!
Social media is hugely popular – 92% of marketers say social media is important for their business.
It was incredibly easy – Just copy/paste a link to embed a video, photo, album, etc.
Visitors love embedded content – It keeps sites looking fresh and engaging.
In fact, data suggests over 30% of posts contain at least one embedded social media link. With WordPress dominating the web, you can imagine how many sites relied on Facebook and Instagram embeds.
Why Did Facebook and Instagram Embeds Break?
Unfortunately in 2020, Facebook made changes to their API that effectively disabled oEmbed support for Instagram and Facebook links.
Specifically, they removed the Instagram and Facebook whitelist from the oEmbed provider list. This technical change meant WordPress could no longer grab the content via oEmbed like it used to.
Instead, Facebook wanted to force third-party sites to use the Facebook Graph API to access Instagram and Facebook data.
However, this would require app reviews, access tokens, and more complexity. For casual WordPress users, it simply wasn‘t feasible.
Faced with broken embeds across millions of pages, the WordPress team decided to remove the Instagram and Facebook embed features entirely. Images, videos, and posts would no longer load at all.
Identifying Broken Instagram and Facebook Embeds
How do you know if your WordPress site is affected by the Facebook API and oEmbed changes?
Here are the signs of broken embeds:
An Instagram or Facebook link that displays an empty box or blank space where media used to show.
An error message like "Sorry, this content isn‘t available right now."
Issues loading Instagram photos, albums, videos, or Facebook posts, links, events, and albums.
Copy/pasting an Instagram or Facebook URL does not automatically embed the content.
If you notice any of these problems, it likely means your embedded social content is broken. Let‘s go over how you can fix it.
Manually Embedding Content as a Short-Term Fix
While it takes more effort than oEmbed, you can still manually embed individual Instagram photos or Facebook videos:
Copy the Instagram or Facebook URL you want to embed.
Add the URL to a new Embed block in the WordPress editor.
Edit any options and click Embed to preview.
Save your changes to embed the content.
However, this only fixes embeds one at a time. For a true solution, we need to look at plugins.
Using Smash Balloon to Effortlessly Embed and Display Feeds
Rather than manually embed social media, I recommend using Smash Balloon‘s plugins. Their products have helped over 1 million WordPress users embed and display social content.
To fix your Facebook and Instagram embeds:
Install the Smash Balloon Instagram Feed or Facebook Feed plugin. Both are free.
Connect your social media accounts in the plugin dashboard.
Embed a feed via the widgets or shortcodes.
That‘s it! Smash Balloon will automatically pull in your latest Instagram photos or Facebook posts and display them in a customizable feed.
The benefits over manual embedding include:
Feeds update automatically – New Instagram or Facebook content will show without you lifting a finger.
Works for multiple posts – No need to embed items one by one.
Customizable layouts and styles – Match your brand colors and aesthetics.
Responsive feeds – Looks great on all devices.
Available via shortcodes or widgets – Embed or display your feeds anywhere.
Easy to set up and use – Configure in minutes without coding skills.
For intermediate to advanced WordPress users, Smash Balloon is my top choice to fix Instagram and Facebook issues.
Extra Plugins for Embedding Other Social Content
Beyond Instagram and Facebook, you may want to embed content from other social platforms like YouTube or Twitter.
Here are a few of my favorite plugins:
Smash Balloon YouTube – Embed YouTube videos into WordPress.
Smash Balloon Twitter Feeds – Display responsive Twitter feeds.
Social Pug – Embed TikTok videos.
InstaGrid Gallery – Instagram photo galleries.
Most social media plugins work the same way. Simply install, connect your account, and embed your content.
Fix Your Broken Embeds the Easy Way
I hope this post clearly explains how the Facebook API and oEmbed changes broke Instagram and Facebook embeds across millions of WordPress sites.
While the issue is frustrating, plugins like Smash Balloon‘s make it easy to fix. You can embed and display all your latest social content without pesky manual workarounds.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m happy to help fellow webmasters and WordPress users resolve this annoying technical embed problem.