Bring Instagram photos back from the Twitter dead with InstaTwit Chrome extension


It’s inconvenient to have to view Instagram images in a whole new window now that the photo sharing site has cut off access to its photos in Twitter. But for the dedicated Instagram and Twitter users, there’s a workaround developed by Dwolla’s Michael Schonfeld for Chrome users.

The way this extension, named InstaTwit, works is simple but incredibly effective. And the only way the extension could be blocked is if Instagram changed the URL structure. But even then, Schonfeld says he just has to push an update to the extension that adopts the new structure, which is simple enough.

instatwit extension

The way InstaTwit works is that it recognizes the Instagram URL from Twitter and pulls in the respective image attached to it on Instagram’s site. You just need to click on the tweet with the Instagram photo and it slides open to display the image directly from Twitter’s site.

Explaining it further, Schoenfeld says:

“There’s nothing secret here: It scans the tweet text when you click to “open a card.” If it sees an Instagram link, it figures out the photo URL, and injects it right into the card.”

What he means, if you’re curious, is that nothing on Twitter’s backend actually changes or has been hacked to support this extension. Instead, InstaTwit is able to display Instagram images in a way that’s similar to viewing the results from editing the source code on a browser like Chrome. In Chrome’s case when you edit the source code the site’s look changes instantaneously based on the code that you’re adding or subtracting.

But because of the nature of this plugin, the card doesn’t open up instantaneously and isn’t as pleasing to look at as the Twitter cards, but it’s really the only option out there right now. If you’re looking for a Firefox solution, there isn’t one yet. But should Schoenfeld use the same method of building the extension as done for Chrome, a Firefox extension should be feasible.

He updated the extension to version 1.1 so users can now view Instagram images in standalone tweets.

There was another workaround to display Instagram photos as Twitter cards that was making the rounds recently courtesy of a recipe created by Daniel Bentley on IFTTT. The recipe would publish an Instagram photo to Twitter instantly user customized hashtag. But when we tested out the feature again today in the wake of Instagram cutting off access to its photos on Twitter, we noticed that this recipe was no longer working. So for now, you’re going to have to settle on InstaTwit. Or if you’re reluctant, you’ll just have to comply to Systrom’s changes and view Instagram natively on its own site.