Instagram Blocks Deep Links to Rivals Telegram and Snapchat
Facebook-owned Instagram has stopped enabling users to add links from their profiles to rival messaging services Telegram and Snapchat, according to people active on those services. Telegram called attention to the development on Wednesday with a tweet that said, "Another @Facebook tentacle closes on users' ability to share a link to their Telegram profile. #hypocrisy."
That tweet apparently refers to a previous instance in which a Facebook property blocked linking to Telegram. In November, Telegram users began reporting they could no longer include live links to their Telegram accounts when using WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014.
Instagram did not respond to our request for comment but has told other news outlets, "We've removed the ability to include 'add me' links on Instagram profile pages. This was a rare use-case, and not the way our platform was intended to be used. Other types of links are still allowed."
'Attempt to Control'
Snapchat yesterday also called attention to the link-blocking by re-tweeting a comment by social media specialist Adel de Meyer, who had posted, "Are you a @telegram user? You are now blocked in @WhatsApp and @instagram links. Your @Snapchat link on IG too."
"[T]his doesn't come as a surprise to many of us Instagram power users," Instagram power user Anthony Carbone ("Wolf Millionaire") told us via e-mail. "Instagram blocking Snapchat deep links are an attempt to control and police their social network, which I think is a mistake. We all know it's a matter of time before they completely throttle our organic reach per post and make us pay to reach our followers in the same format that Facebook implemented years after launching."
Fierce Competition Nothing New
Carbone said Instagram's blocking of links won't prevent him and other high-profile users from encouraging followers to seek them out on sites like Snapchat. In fact, he said he advertises his Snapchat code via posts on Instagram and, by doing so, has increased his viewership on Snapchat five-fold over just two months.
"Just goes to show you how many Snapchat users are dying for new content and influencers to follow and thus why Instagram is doing everything it can to curb us power users to leverage our massive followings to follow us on Snapchat as well," Carbone told us.
Instagram's latest move underscores just how competitive the messaging and microblogging spaces have become. Carbone noted that the site "knows that it has serious competition in the video space (Vine, Snapchat, Telegram, WeChat)."
Not too long ago, Instagram actually found itself on the opposite side of such competition. In 2012, just two years after the company launched, users of the rapidly growing Instagram found they were blocked by Twitter from using the "find friends" feature on Twitter's API. Earlier that year, Twitter also started preventing users from cross-posting tweets to their LinkedIn accounts.
Image Credit: Telegram Messenger.
Posted: 2016-03-07 @ 7:34am PT
I don't consider Telegram and Snapchat to be rivals of Instagram. Well, Snapchat, maybe. But Telegram? Hardly. Telegram's rivals are secure messenger apps like Signal and Threema. Anyway, that's a bad move for Instagram.