Twitter just began rolling out a new search infrastructure that will allow anyone to search every tweet ever published publicly. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe

In the next salvo of an escalating war between two giants of social media, Twitter has announced new versions of its iOS and Android apps to mimic Instagram-style filters and editing software just one day after the Facebook-owned picture app completely blocked users’ ability to embed its photos in tweets.

The new Twitter app will allow users to take a picture, crop it, enhance it, run it through one of eight filters, and then share it, all without closing the app.

The filters were made by Aviary, a company that specialises in photo editing software for mobile apps.

Tech-watchers call it a defensive move against the looming giant of Instagram.

Photo filters have become wildly popular but it’s still uncertain how many users will adopt the new Twitter app as Instagram has developed its own unique identity.

Kevin Systrom, the CEO of the photo-sharing service that was snapped up by Facebook earlier this year, announced last week that Instagram had turned off support for “Twitter cards”, signalling a deepening rift between two of the web’s biggest brands.

Twitter users started to complain early last week in public messages that Instagram photos were not displaying properly on Twitter’s website.

Clarifying the situation, Systrom later released a statement saying: “We believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives.”

Instagram started off as a smartphone application-only service but has recently improved its website.

“A handful of months ago, we supported Twitter cards because we had a minimal web presence,” Systrom said, noting that the company had since released new features that allowed users to comment about and “like” photos directly on Instagram’s website.

The rivalry between Facebook and Twitter intensified in April when the former outbid Twitter to nab fast-growing Instagram in a cash-and-stock deal valued at the time at $1 billion.

The acquisition closed in September for about $715 million (R6.1 billion), due to Facebook’s recent stock drop.

The companies’ ties have been strained since. In July, Twitter blocked Instagram from using its data to help new Instagram users find friends.

Photos are among the most popular features on both Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram’s meteoric rise in recent years has further proved how picture-sharing has become a key front in the battle for social media supremacy.

Instagram, which has 100 million users, allows consumers to tweak the photos they take on their smartphones and share the images with their friends, a feature that Twitter has reportedly also begun to develop.

Twitter’s executive chairman Jack Dorsey was an investor in Instagram and hoped to acquire it before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tabled a successful bid.

When Zuckerberg announced the acquisition in an April blog post, he said one of Instagram’s strengths was its inter-connectivity with other social networks and pledged to continue running it as an independent service.

“We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks.”

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment at the time of Instagram’s announcement, but a status message on Twitter’s website confirmed that users are “experiencing issues”, such as “cropped images” when viewing Instagram photos on Twitter.

Systrom noted that Instagram users could “continue to be able to share to Twitter as they originally did before the Twitter Cards implementation”. – Daily Mail


The update to the Twitter app includes a photosharing service to make up for Instagram’s cut off. Here’s what you get.

1. Users will be able to take photos, alter them, and share them to Twitter all without closing the app.

2. The software will also include editing tools like zoom and crop.

3. Closest to Instagram, you’ll be able to run your pics through one of eight filters with names like Warm, Cool, Vintage, Happy and Cinemati.