Instagram disables all Twitter photo integration, users lash out

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Days after Instagram disabled a feature that properly formatted photos on Twitter, the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)-owned image sharing service has fully terminated Twitter support, meaning users can no longer view Instagram photos via the microblogging platform.

"Instagram has disabled photo integration with Twitter. As a result, photos are no longer appearing in Tweets or user photo galleries," Twitter said in an update posted Sunday afternoon. "While tweeting links to Instagram photos is still possible, you can no longer view the photos on Twitter, as was previously the case."  

Last week, Instagram pulled the plug on Twitter card integration; the cards, introduced this summer, allow correct content formatting, as well as other media interactions and enhancements. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said the decision to halt Twitter cards support is intended to help establish the Instagram 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 last week's LeWeb conference in Paris, Systrom added the change was his decision and not an order from Facebook, 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.

Instagram now boasts more than 100 million users across the iOS and Android platforms, with photo uploads topping 5 million per day. Instagram users vented their frustrations on Twitter: "Extremely upset that Instagram pictures are a separate link now," one posted, while another wrote "Annoyed at Instagram for getting rid of the Twitter integration. I hate actually clicking the Instagram link to view a photo." Users are also suggesting potential workarounds like InstaTwit, a free Google Chrome browser extension that pledges "Instagram photos will now show up as they did 'in the good old days.'"

The New York Times recently reported 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 stated 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 officially comment on the NYT report, but this weekend, All Things D reported the company is pushing to roll out the filters by the end of this year. Sources say Twitter is currently trialing the filtering app--trial participants appear to include Twitter Chairman Jack Dorsey, who has tweeted many black-and-white filtered photos in recent days. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

For more:
- read this USA Today article
- read this All Things D article

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