Facebook’s Instagram Restricts Twitter Integration

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Instagram has restricted a feature that allows photos to be displayed on microblogging service Twitter

In a sign of the growing tension between Facebook and Twitter, Instagram has restricted its photo integration with the microblogging website.

Instagram is of course now owned by Facebook after the social networking giant purchased the popular photo-sharing app back in April for $1 billion (£630m).

Photo Cropping

And now eight months on, it seems that Instagram has restricted the “cards” feature that allowed Twitter users to display Instagram photos correctly.

It should be noted that Instagram photos can still be shared on Twitter, but they appear to be too large for the space that Twitter provides and are now cropped rafther than scaled to display properly.

And Twitter made clear in a status update on its website on Wednesday, where the finger of blame lies for this display problem.

“Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter,” said Twitter. “Issues include cropped images. This is due to Instagram disabling its Twitter cards integration, and as a result, photos are being displayed using a pre-cards experience. So, when users click on Tweets with an Instagram link, photos appear cropped.”

Essentially the Instagram move will force Twitter users to click through to its website in order to properly view the image. Whilst the action seems relatively minor, it is a sign of the growing tensions between Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook has been aggressively trying to monetise its service by inserting adverts into users news feed, and Twitter has also tightened up its controls for third party apps, a move that annoyed many developers.

And earlier this year, Twitter ended a three-year partnership with LinkedIn, saying it didn’t want others to dilute its “core experience”.

Growing Tensions?

The moves come as both companies seek to protect their service and retain the highest possible number of users on their respective platforms. Of course, Instagram used to work closely with Twitter, and when the photo-sharing app was acquired by Facebook, many users were not happy at the deal.

Since that time Instagram has (as expected) tightened its integration with Facebook.

And for its part, Facebook is also working hard to better integrate Instagram into its platform. Earlier this month, Facebook revealed potential changes to its user and voting policies, allowing data to be shared across services, and stopping people voting on changes to its policies and terms of service. The changes would allow Facebook to share users’ details with its other businesses, including Instagram for example.

But the proposed changes have proved controversial, and Facebook users have less than one week left to vote against the policy changes.

How well do you know Twitter? Take our quiz!