What the snap? Instagram blocks access to social media accounts

pavel durov instagram
Pavel Durov tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram message

When Facebook bought Instagram, many wondered just how it would use its reach to decimate the competition. The answer’s here.

Instagram has just blocked deeplinking for other social media services within its apps. The Facebook subsidiary previously allowed users to include ‘add me’ or ‘follow me’ links on their profile page, allowing followers to interact with them in other ways across the interwebs.

Telegram and Snapchat have been specifically targeted, and users who want to link their accounts on these services to their Instagram feed, now get the message: “Links asking someone to add you aren’t supported on Instagram.”

TechCrunch quoted a statement from the photo-sharing service: “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.”

That means you can still link to websites, blogs, YouTube channels and – yes, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Periscope.

Mobile messaging app Telegram protested via Twitter, posting: “Another Facebook tentacle closes on users’ ability to share a link to their Telegram profile. #hypocrisy.”

Telegram crossed 100 million monthly active users last month, which is about a tenth of Whatsapp’s one billion user base. Whatsapp is also owned by Facebook and has also blocked access to Telegram accounts, according to Pavel Durov, the Telegram founder. The blocks to rival messaging services may mean Facebook is feeling the heat – and protecting its own.

Telegram’s Channels service, which allows a broadcast to an unlimited number of users, offers Facebook-like functionality, and could also have prompted the sneaky move.

Telegram announced last year that its users were sharing 35 million photos a day – compared to 70 million on Instagram. It provided the comparison as it announced an in-app photo editor.

Snapchat has more than 100 million daily active users and says it has more than 7 billion video views a day. The platform has not yet issued a statement on the Instagram accounts ban.