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Walled garden: Instagram blocking profile links to Snapchat and Telegram

Many Instagram users use their profiles on the photo-sharing app to link to their accounts on other social networks. Seeing as URLs posted as photo captions don’t link to their sources, the Web link section in an Instagram bio is the only place you can promote your external activity on the app.

That has all come to an abrupt end, however, as Instagram is now blocking users from posting links to selected sites on their profiles. The social networks that have been affected are Snapchat and Telegram, with the latter first noticing the obstruction. Other similar sites, such as Twitter and Vine, have not been affected.

The discrete move from the Facebook-owned app results in users who take the prohibited action being confronted with a message that reads: “Links asking someone to add you on another service aren’t supported on Instagram.”

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Although the bias against the apps in question may not seem clear to some, Telegram didn’t mince words when pointing it out via a tweet. “Another @Facebook tentacle closes on users’ ability to share a link to their Telegram profile. #hypocrisy,” reads the comment made through the app’s official Twitter account.

As seen in the screenshots that accompany the tweet, Telegram is referring to a similar move made by WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, last year. The world’s most popular messaging platform’s block on links to its rival service within chats and profiles is still in effect on Android devices, reports The Verge.

Snapchat is quite clearly the bigger threat to Instagram. The ephemeral messaging app also relies on visual content, and is now challenging Facebook in terms of video views. Snapchat has also maintained the buzz that surrounds it for much longer than most anticipated.

Telegram, however, is definitely rising up the ranks as a WhatsApp alternative. Last month it claimed it had reached a milestone of 100 million users, with 35,000 people signing up each day to use the app. Additionally, when WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil last year, 1.5 million users reportedly flocked to Telegram to get their free messaging fix.

We have reached out to Instagram for a comment and will update the article accordingly.