You can no longer link to your Telegram and Snapchat profile links from within your Instagram profile. Normally when you are creating a profile in a social networking platform, you can also link to your other profiles on other networks to cross promote. This is just a way of telling people that you can also be found on other social networking websites. For example, when you are creating a profile on Twitter, you can put in any other link in the profile. The same happens with Google+. This is called “deep linking”: you can set your profile URL to some other website. This is no longer available. You cannot link to Telegram and Snapchat links from your Instagram profile. This is the message that you get:
This is a sign of the competition heating up between different instant messaging apps. Sometime back Instagram was purchased by Facebook along with WhatsApp and despite having its own Facebook Messenger, Facebook is targeting every possible platform to increase its presence wherever it can.
Here is what has happened: Before the links were blocked, you could deep link other parts of the Internet including social networking websites like Telegram and Snapchat from the profile section of Instagram. But now when you try to do that, you receive an error, “Links asking someone to add you on another service aren’t supported on Instagram.”
People were alerted about Instagram’s decision to not allow people to link to Telegram and Snapchat links by the Telegram founder Pavel Durov
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) March 2, 2016
When the technology website TechCrunch contacted Instagram they received the following reply, “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.”
“Other” links means you can still link to YouTube, your own blog or website, your iTunes page and random webpages, you just need to make sure that you don’t link to your Telegram and Snapchat accounts.
This is obviously not a good move by Instagram. Blocking other networks reeks of insecurity, not of confidence. Besides, social networking these days does not just mean using a single network. People use different networks for different reasons. The way I use Twitter I cannot use Facebook and vice versa. In the same way, posting images on Instagram is more rewarding compared to posting them on Facebook. WhatsApp solves a different purpose (I don’t use Telegram and Snapchat) and Facebook messenger solves a different purpose. All the social networks are interlinked and that’s the beauty of the Internet.
On another thought, the way Facebook was pushing Free Basics in India shows that the people behind Facebook aren’t much crazy about net neutrality and a free Internet. They want to create closed ecosystems. They will learn that this doesn’t work.