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Facebook, Twitter Go to War With Instagram Push

Wednesday, 19 Dec 2012 | 1:04 PM ET
Instagram
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Instagram

The battle over who will dominate the photo-sharing space is in full swing, and at the center of the fight is Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook-owned Instagram came under fire Tuesday after revealing proposed changes to its privacy policy and terms of service agreement. A massive user backlash spurred Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to issue a statement pledging not to sell users' images — as many users feared would happen once the changes went into effect — and he promised to "remove" language that implied users' images would also appear in ads. (Read More: Instagram to Users: We Won't Sell Your Pics, but...)

But the uproar over the proposed changes brings to light the issue that Facebook is now trying to make money off its $1 billion purchase of the photo-sharing app Instagram and in doing so it's spurring its rivalry with Twitter.

Last week, Instagram distanced itself further from Twitter by no longer allowing previews of Instagram images appear on the Twitter platform. Rather, if an Instagram image is shared on Twitter, it can only be viewed via a link redirecting the user to Instagram's website.

Twitter didn't wait long, though, to strike back against the photo-sharing app. It quickly released its own photo-editing tools, which allow users to do many of the same things that it can do on Instagram. (Read More: The Company Behind Twitter's New Photo Filters)

The tension between Instagram and Twitter is growing, because they will likely be vying for the same advertisers. However, Instagram, which was not profitable when Facebook purchased it, is playing catch-up with Twitter in some regards as it strives to figure out just how it will incorporate ads into its platform.

"Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time," Systrom said in a statement posted on Instagram's blog Tuesday.

Twitter sells ad products that include "promoted accounts," which is when Twitter shows a brand's account in a prominent place on its site, and it sells "promoted tweets," which is when the company features a tweet in a users' feed. However, the advertiser only pays if the user clicks the ad.

Instagram is no doubt looking to cash in on the same ad revenue of its competitor, but building a "self-sustaining business" may actually cost it some of its users and could actually push some users to use Twitter for sharing images instead.

Many Instagram users raged on the Internet Monday and Tuesday in response to Instagram's proposed policy changes and even after Systrom responded to users' grievances in a blog post published Tuesday evening, users were still venting about the changes on social media platforms Wednesday.

continued to be a trending term on Twitter Wednesday after also trending on Tuesday.

Several celebrities also hinted that they may quit Instagram, including Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, and Tiffani Thiessen. The publication National Geographic also said on Tuesday that it would suspend its Instagram account.

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