Username @mentions on Instagram will now be translated when you share to Twitter

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The @mention and hashtag have eclipsed their Twitter origins, and now various social platforms — including Instagram — are home to them. However, when Instagrams are showed to Twitter, you’re stuck with the obnoxious problem of @mention’s not matching respective user names between the two sites. This means if you ping someone in an Instagram photo you send to Twitter, unless their usernames are identical on the two platforms, they’ll never see it. But consider this very first world problem solved: Today Instagram announced that it was translating @mentions on Instagram to the appropriate @mention on Twitter.

Starting today if you publish an Instagram user’s name in the caption, it will be translated into the corresponding user name on Twitter. For example, now if someone mentions me on Instagram (@francis_bea) and sends the photo to Twitter, I’ll receive an @mention there (@francisybea). 

For this function to work, your Instagram account will need to be connected to Twitter at all times. You can enable this by going to your profile and hitting the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner; from there go to Share Settings and make sure your Twitter account is synced. 

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Instagram explains this in a blog post:

If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:

The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption

The user’s Twitter username will appear in the tweet

If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:

The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption

The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter

For @mentions that do not match any Instagram usernames, the @ sign will remain when shared to Twitter.

Regardless of the fact that Instagram is owned by Facebook and Twitter is a competitor who has abstained its support for third-party developers, it’s a decision that will benefit Instagram users and should reduce the case of mistaken identities on Twitter. Facebook recently announced it’s own attempt to de-clutter cross-network tagging, although the function hasn’t been enabled for Instagram posts. Given Facebook’s popularity as a photo-sharing platform (not to mention that part about owning Instagram), we can only hope that the ability to tag friends within the app is on it’s way. 

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