Instagram has decided to block links in user profiles to private messaging apps Telegram and Snapchat.The change was made quietly and first publicly noted by Telegram’s official Twitter account only yesterday. No other social networks appear to be affected, meaning you can still drop a link in your Instagram profile to a Twitter account, Facebook profile, or personal website without running into trouble.
The Facebook-owned photo-sharing service isn’t blocking all Telegram and Snapchat links, but just those that are designed to let other users quickly and easily follow profiles on other social networks, otherwise known as “add me” links. If a user tries to input one of those directing users to their Snapchat or Telegram profiles, Instagram will display a message saying, “Links asking someone to add you on another service aren’t supported on Instagram.” The company confirmed the change to TechCrunch today. “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,” an Instagram spokesperson said. “Other types of links are still allowed.”
“This was … not the way our platform was intended to be used.”
It’s unclear exactly what difference there is between a Twitter profile, which lets you follow someone right from a linked profile address, and a Telegram “add me” link. But Instagram may not appreciate users linking to social media services it directly competes with; Telegram has built-in Instagram-like photo editing features and Snapchat is predominantly a tool for sending photos to other users.
Another Facebook-owned chat service, WhatsApp, began blocking links to Telegram web addresses within both messages and profiles back in November, and the ban is still in effect for Android users of WhatsApp, according to Telegram founder Pavel Durov. Of course, when WhatsApp was banned in Brazil a month later, users began flocking to Telegram. So there appears to be a bit of bad blood between Facebook and its up-and-coming messaging rivals.