Chief Executive Kevin Systrom of Instagram explained the removal of a key element in tying the photo-sharing service by saying on Wednesday that it was necessary so that Twitter users will use Instagram’s own website. The removal of Twitter “cards” from Twitter means that multimedia content like Instagram photos and YouTube videos will no longer be embedded and viewed directly via a Twitter message.
The new move by Instagram further widens the gap between the two companies after Twitter failed to acquire Instagram against competitor Facebook last April. Facebook bought Instragram in a cash-and-stock deal for about $1 billion. With Facebook’s recent stock drop, Instragram’s value also plummeted for an estimated $715 million in September.
The relationship between Twitter and Instragram had become strained after the bid since. Twitter blocked Instagram in July from using its data to help the photo-sharing app find new friends.
Earlier this week, Twitter users have come out to the open to complain about Instagram photos not displaying properly on Twitter site.
Then on Wednesday, Systrom confirmed the changes including Instagram’s decision to more or less force users view photos on the website of Instagram.
The recent act of Instagram is a clear indicator of the heated rivalry between the two social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter, where each one tries to protect their huge wealth of user data within their own spheres, inaccessible to rivals.
“They’re both competing for slices of the same pie, the pie being users’ attention,” analyst with research from firm Gartner Ray Valdes said.
He added that if Facebook will eventually offer advertising on Instagram, it is imperative that users will visit Instagram’s own website. “If the eyeballs are elsewhere, you have less to work with in terms of monetization,” Valdes said.
Both Facebook and Twitter recognize that photos are the most popular features on their website, as proven by Instagram’s rapid rise in popularity among users in a matter of a few years.
Instagram boasts of over 100 million users around the world. Users can tweak photos they have stored on their phones and share them with friends. Twitter is rumored to be developing a technology similar to Instagram’s. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s executive chairman, was an early investor of Instagram. He had hoped to buy Twitter before his company was outbid by Zuckerberg’s Facebook last April.
Mark Zuckerberg underscored the inter-connectivity of Instagram with other social networks last April, after the acquisition.
“We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience,” Zuckerberg said in a prepared statement. “We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks.”
A spokesman from Twitter did not comment on Wednesday about the problem. A message on the official site of Twitter confirmed that users are having some issues like “cropped images” when viewing photos on Twitter website.