Instagram is no longer allowing users to add deeplinks to rival messaging services such as Telegram and Snapchat. The change was first spotted and pointed out by Telegram Messenger’s Twitter account, and the company is obviously not pleased with the change enforced by Facebook.
The tweet read, “Another @Facebook tentacle closes on users’ ability to share a link to their Telegram profile. #hypocrisy”. Telegram posted a screenshot of Instagram bringing up an error message when a user tried to enter a link to their telegram profile, with Instagram saying that links that ask users to add them on another service are not supported on Instagram. The irony? The same message does not show up when users try to add LinkedIn and Twitter links to their profile.
It can be argued that LinkedIn is a professional website, and most users might not be afraid to share their most personal moments with their business contents. Twitter is a rival of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in the social networking space. Given that Twitter and Instagram are often closely interlinked, and that users who post something on Instagram have direct links to share their posts to Facebook and Twitter, the company can perhaps be forgiven for overlooking that social networking website.
That said, Instagram might want to change its language – given that users can clearly add links that help viewers add them on other websites. It is interesting to note that while Snapchat links appear to be blocked as well, Snapchat has not tweeted about the change. The change does affect Telegram a bit more than it does Snapchat, given that Snapchat appears to have a more established user base as well a number of innovative ideas such as lenses that keep users coming back for more.
Telegram, for its part, is also growing steadily. The app has around 100 million monthly active users and is set to launch Channels – public chatrooms that will turn it into more of a social network. That will certainly pit Telegram against Facebook in the social networking space. It can be argued that Facebook cannot take Twitter down, but the tech giant can certainly prevent other apps from growing big enough to become serious competitors. Another Facebook-owned app – WhatsApp – does not allow Telegram links either.
Instagram argues that the app was not meant to be used for this purpose. Another way of looking at it is that Instagram as a social app should allow users to do exactly what they want, as long as it is not harming anyone. By blocking rival apps, Facebook might be abusing its position as a market leader – something that has made Facebook the subject of an antitrust probe by a German watchdog. Given the company’s practices when selectively dealing with rival apps, Facebook might well find itself at the center of a storm again.