Twitter Proclaims Independence from Instagram with Own Photo Filters

Social media wars escalate to Facebook and Twitter trading blows.

on December 11 2012 4:11 PM
Twitter Proclaims Independence from Instagram with Own Photo Filters
Twitter is introducing a new photo editing and sharing service to its social network in response to a growing tension between the startup and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) over its use of Instagram images. Twitter

Shortly after Twitter officially severed itself from the popular image sharing service and looming social network rival Instagram, the San Francisco-based social media company took its newfound stand against Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) one step further, claiming it could do its own image-filtering and sharing in-house, and do it better.

The Jack Dorsey-founded startup announced late Monday in a company blog post that it is introducing a new feature to the popular microblogging platform and social network that will allow users to edit photos and apply Instagram-like photo filters using internal applications native to Twitter.

The blog post, written by Twitter senior designer Coleen Baik, said that sharing photos has always been an intrinsic part of the social network’s user experience.

“Starting today, you’ll be able to edit and refine your photos, right from Twitter,” Baik wrote. “The latest versions of Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android introduce a few new ways to enhance the images you tweet.”

Ever since social media giant Facebook first acquired Instagram in April, the prospect of a corporate battle between two of the youngest and most powerful Internet companies has seemed increasingly imminent. The looming war between the two web giants escalated to a fever pitch at the beginning of November once Instagram introduced its own “web profiles” in an effort to expand the service into a standalone social network similar to Pinterest, rather than simply being an ancillary bonus to Facebook and Twitter users who wanted to share pictures taken with their mobile devices with a larger audience than their smartphone address books provided.

Twitter was subsequently rumored to be developing its own photo editing and sharing service, a process that kicked into full gear late last week. when the social network announced that Instagram had “disabled photo integration with Twitter,” meaning that images made with Instagram were “no longer appearing in Tweets or user photo galleries.”

The new Twitter photo app will feature eight filters and a “bird’s-eye view” editing mode that displays all the possible changes for a given photo in a grid format. Users can crop and enhance images in a manner similar to Instagram, and the app even has the black and white and vintage-style options that made Instagram so popular for mobile audiences.

The main difference between Twitter’s photo editing capabilities and Instagram’s is that all of these features are now native to Twitter. Images can then be attached directly to tweets or messages, rather than typing the text portion of the tweet as the caption for an Instragram photo shared on the social network.

The benefit this grants Twitter is that users are now no longer required to step outside of its social network -- however temporarily -- to complete an action that is often taken with a Twitter message ultimately in mind. While any rivalrous behavior between prominent tech companies that undermines or alters the users’ experience risks alienating the very users the companies are hoping to appease, strengthening the borders of its ecosystem could ultimately benefit Twitter as the service’s popularity continues to soar.

“Twitter is more valuable to most users than other filtering services, such as Instagram,” Michael Gartenberg of Gartner told the New York Times when hearing the news. “Lack of allowing content to flow where users want it to flow means consumers will choose the service of greater value.”

Twitter’s new photo-editing features are being developed and supported by the company’s partner Aviary, a mobile and web software development company that lists Jeff Bezos of Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) among its “top-tier investors.”

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