Instagram cuts off Twitter cards integration

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Instagram has disabled a feature that supports proper formatting of users' photos on Twitter, escalating the rivalry between the two social networks.

"Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter. Issues include cropped images," Twitter said Wednesday. "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." Twitter cards, introduced this summer, allows content partners to present multimedia in a "more engaging way"--users can expand tweets to view images, videos and other content.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom confirmed the decision to disable Twitter cards support in an emailed statement, explaining the move is intended to help establish the Instagram photo sharing platform beyond its signature smartphone applications. "A handful of months ago, we supported Twitter cards because we had a minimal web presence," Systrom said. "We've since launched several improvements to our website that allow users to directly engage with Instagram content through likes, comments [and] hashtags, and now we believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives."

Speaking at the LeWeb conference in Paris, Systrom added the change was his decision and not an order from parent Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which acquired the firm this year for $715 million. "This is not a case of Facebook putting some sort of policy on Instagram. And this isn't a consequence of us getting acquired," he said.

Systrom also denied that Instagram's actions are retribution for Twitter's decision to disable Instagram's access to its Find Your Friends feature. Since the July release of Instagram 2.5.1, users who attempt to access Find Your Friends to discover contacts are pushed an error message stating "Unable to Find Friends. Twitter no longer allows its users to access this information in Instagram via the Twitter API. We apologize for any inconvenience."

"The press has a history of painting things this way," Systrom said. "We have a really good relationship with Twitter."

Systrom did not comment on a recent New York Times report indicating Twitter is building Instagram-like photo filtering and sharing features enabling users to tweak their smartphone photos to look like they were shot on vintage cameras or film stocks. Citing Twitter employees who requested anonymity, the report states the introduction of in-house photo features is intended to appeal to so-called V.I.T.'s ("Very Important Tweeters")--i.e., celebrities, athletes and other media personalities with large followings who regularly use Instagram to document their lives, then share those images with the public. Twitter has declined to comment on the report.

Instagram now boasts more than 100 million users across the iOS and Android platforms, with photo uploads topping 5 million per day. As of September, there were 140 million Twitter users worldwide, generating 340 million tweets every day.

For more:
- read this CNNMoney article
- read this Washington Post article

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