Social might be the name of the game, but it doesn’t always seem like all the players can get along. Today, Facebook-owned Instagram confirmed that it has turned off support for “Twitter Cards,” therefore no longer allowing Instagram photos to display properly on Twitter’s platform. Currently Instagram pictures appear oddly cropped on users’ Twitter feeds, but the company said that going forward the images will cease to show at all on any Twitter product, web or mobile.
Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom explained that the change was intended to drive users directly to Instagram.com, the photo app’s newly launched website, which transforms user’s feeds into online profiles. “We wanted to make sure we direct users to where the content lives originally, so they get the full Instagram experience,” Systrom said this morning in Paris. In a statement to the press, he further elaborated: “A handful of months ago, we supported Twitter cards because we had a minimal web presence. We’ve since launched several improvements to our website that allow users to directly engage with Instagram content through likes, comments, hashtags and now we believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives.”
Social networks’ competition for user time, engagement, and volume is hardly anything new. Previously Twitter had also cut off third-party image services such as TwitPic and YFrog from hosting mobile uploaded images and revamped their API to block other social networks — including Instagram — from accessing their users’ Twitter friends lists. While all this may seem quite unfriendly on the social web, experts say it all comes down to one thing — money. After all, a network can only monetize what is actually on their own platform. Though Instagram has yet to bring in a single ad dollar, its latest move may hint that is soon about to change.