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Instagram shuts off Twitter photo previews

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Having trouble previewing Instagram photos on Twitter’s website or mobile app? You’re not alone.

Instagram has decided to shut off Twitter’s ability to show Instagram photos, now making it mandatory to click through to Instagram’s website. Before, expanding a tweet containing an Instagram link would, through Twitter’s cards technology, neatly show the Instagram photo. Not anymore. 

“Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter. Issues include cropped images,” Twitter wrote on its status site. “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.”

As The New York Times' Nick Bilton notes, the companies previously worked closely together, but relations between the parties have gone south after Facebook bought Instagram. This summer, Twitter blocked Instagram from letting users find people they were already connected to on Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter are competing services, and as Twitter places a greater focus on photos, it is becoming a heavier competitor to Instagram as well. Instagram, with more than 100 million users, is the clear leader among mobile photo-sharing services and is making a bigger push on the Web with new standalone profiles.

Yet with its own image-upload feature and rumors of Instagram-like photo filters coming to its apps, it seems Twitter wants to grab a slice of Instagram’s pie for itself.

It remains to be seen whether the move will pay off for Instagram, which grew quickly with the help of Twitter sharing—or whether the company will look back with (sepia-tinged) remorse.

UPDATE: At the LeWeb conference in Paris, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said the move is "the correct thing for our business to do at this time." He thinks Instagram's Web profiles offer a better experience to users and believes "not many people know what Twitter cards are."

He noted that Instagram has "a really good relationship with Twitter" and added that Instagram users will always be able to tweet out links to their photos. Systrom stressed that the move had nothing to do with Facebook.

Photo by matt-lucht/Flickr