Demystifying Facebook's Unsupported request error.

Written by Melissa Evans

If you ever coded using Facebook graph API you most likely have run into an error that states “Unsupported post request error” or “Unsupported get request error”. In this article, we will explain what it means and specifically how it applies to Instagram publishing.

Facebook Graph API

The most generic explanation of this error is that you are trying to access a resource that does not exist on Facebook. Think of it as a glorified 404 error. Facebook could have certainly made this error more descriptive.

In the case of Instagram publishing, it gets a little tricker. Let’s first understand the anatomy of Instagram Business Profile:

Anatomy of Instagram Business Profile

First, let’s establish key participants:

  • Instagram Profile as you know it. This is the profile you create on Instagram.com or using the Instagram app.

  • Facebook Page. Instagram Business Profile isn’t really a ‘thing’. It is just a link between Instagram Profile and Facebook page.

  • Facebook Personal Profile owns or is an admin of the page. It is quite important because it is the user profile’s access that ultimately makes this process work.

This of this relationship as a data structure that looks like this (this is a logical view of how everything is connected):

{
  facebook : {    
    personal_id : 1,
    pages : [
      {
        page_id : 10,
        instagram_business : {
            instagram_business_id : 20,
            instagram : {
                native_instagram_id : 30
            }                    
        }
      },
      ...
    ] 
  }
}

Facebook API is built around Facebook’s own ids. Therefore when publishing to Instagram “native_instagram_id” is meaningless. Publishing has to happen using “instagram_business_id”.

If however, your Instagram profile somehow disconnects from the Facebook page - “instagram_busieness_id” becomes meaningless. Posting using this ID will result in the “Unsupported post request error” error.

How to fix it

Fixing this is simple but will require user involvement. Users will have to go to their Instagram app, convert their profile back to personal and then re-convert it to business.

Why does it happen?

The most common cause is the loss of access. Let’s say Facebook user “John” had access to a Facebook page which had an associated Instagram Business profile. If John loses admin access to the page - the whole linkage becomes invalid as to be re-established.