Full disclosure: I like Instagram (Cats! Clouds! Feet!). I will often share photos I take on it on Twitter, but I rarely do on Facebook. Last night I noticed that several photos I’d tweeted out never made it onto Twitter at all, and then this morning came rumblings that Instagram photos on Twitter were showing up broken or cropped. Why? Instagram, which was recently acquired by Facebook, did that on purpose, the company says.
According to a status update from Twitter:
Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter. Issues include cropped images. 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.
Why would a company intentionally break its users’ images? Instagram swears it’s not about the fact that its owned by Facebook, it just doesn’t want to share as much of its pie with Twitter.
Speaking from the LeWeb conference, Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom explained today’s odd move, reports CNET:
“Really it’s about where do you go to consume that image, to interact with that image. We want that to be on Instagram,” Systrom said at the LeWeb conference today. “What we realized over time is we really needed to have an awesome Web presence.”
Systrom added that the change was his decision, not an order from Facebook, whose acquisition of Instagram closed about three months ago.
“This decision is definitely coming from me,” he said. “This is not a case of Facebook putting some sort of policy on Instagram. And this isn’t a consequence of us getting acquired.”
Uh huh. But the ability to share images on Facebook from Instagram seems to be working just fine, so wouldn’t that in theory also take away from the Instagram on Instagram.com experience?
The cropped images thing will likely just be the tip of the iceberg in Instagram’s plan to disconnect itself from Twitter, which will make plenty of people, myself included, cranky. Yes, businesses need to build their brands, but doing so by rupturing the user experience is a crappy way to go about it.