Social Network Photo War Begins Just Before the Holidays

Posted on December 8, 2012

Photographs have always been important for social websites. Getting people to share photographs was key even in the early days when MySpace and Friendster were the social stars. User photos appear to be ground zero in a new battle between social networks. It is a war that will be no doubt be annoying for users of these services.

Instagram recently pulled the rug out from under Twitter, by disabling its Twitter Cards integration. This should not be surprising following Facebook's acquisition of Instagram earlier of this year. The move likely marked the beginning of a social network war over photos. It is likely not a coincidence that Instagram fired this shot at Twitter right before the holidays, when numerous photos are shared.

Twitter said in a status update:

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.
Instagram denied the move was a result of it being acquired by Facebook. Instagram apparently prefers photos to be viewed on its website, which was not something that used to bother Instagram. This may make it a less useful app as far as some Twitter users are concerned.

Twitter is already working on replacing Instagram with in-house technology. AllThingsD is reporting that Twitter plans to release new photo filters before the holidays. A great deal of photographs are taken over the holiday period, which can create instant traffic as well as traffic later from the photo archives. Social sharing of holiday photographs is replacing (or enhancing) the traditional Christmas card. Companies who want to dominate in the social photo business want these photographs. It is about getting photographs by the masses. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram don't care about one individual's photo of a cat under a Christmas tree. They want as many as possible of everyone's holiday photos to be shared on their network, because the more photographs they have, they more traffic they can get and the more new users they might be able to add.

Twitter's new filters will help Twitter users, but the ideal photo app would interact perfectly with all social networks one uses. Perhaps there is an opportunity here for a new third party photo app to rise to the top.

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