Instagram yanks photo viewing from Twitter streams

Instagram severed support for Twitter cards on Sunday so images from the photo-sharing service no longer appear in feed streams on the microblogging network.

Photos that Instagram's website can still be accessed from Twitter through links included in a tweet.

"Instagram has disabled photo integration with Twitter," the microblogging service reports in a status update posted to the Internet Sunday evening. "As a result, photos are no longer appearing in tweets or user photo galleries."

"While tweeting links to Instagram photos is still possible, you can no longer view the photos on Twitter, as was previously the case," the status message states.

A spokesperson for Facebook, which purchased Instagram earlier this year for $1 billion, confirmed the cutoff of support for Twitter cards to Mike Isaac, of AllThingsD.

Twitter cards are a relatively new feature that make it easier to view rich content within tweet feeds.

Turf Tussle?

Problems with the rendering of photos from Instagram in Twitter emerged last week with users complaining about images appearing oddly cropped in their feed streams.

According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, the photo-sharing site is suspending support of Twitter cards to enrich the experience of Instagram users. Those users are better served by having their photos displayed where they were originally posted, he says.

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Skeptics, though, believe Instagram has other motivations. They argue that Facebook has invested time and money into revamping Instagram's website and wants to drive more traffic there.

They also suggest that the Twitter cutoff also may be retaliation for the microblogging service restricting Instagram's access to the Twitter API. Systrom has denied any retaliatory motives behind the Twitter cards cutoff.

In addition, it's been widely reported that Twitter plans to add a photo filtering feature in the next version of its mobile app. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has already begun posting photos to his microblogging account that some suspect are examples of the upcoming filter feature in that app.

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Instagram images can still be embedded using InstaTwit, but only in Chrome.

If Twitter introduces photo filters, it would make its mobile app a direct competitor to Instagram and a threat to any Facebook initiatives to monetize the photo service.

Despite the squabble between Twitter and Instagram, users of Google's Chrome browser can display Instagram photos in their Twitter feeds with an extension called InstaTwit. However, when viewing Twitter feeds in anything but Chrome, only links to Instagram photos will appear.

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