Remember in fifth grade when your one BFF stopped talking to you because you sat at lunch with another BFF? That’s kind of what Facebook is doing to its users over its obvious jealousy of their ongoing relationship with Twitter.
When Mark Zuckerberg’s mammoth social networking site bought Instagram, one of its first moves was to disable any feature that contributed to what was thus far seamless compatibility with Twitter. In other words, “I’m not gonna talk to you anymore if you’re gonna play with them.”
First Instagram sent out a software update that disabled the “Find Twitter Friends” feature. Then they disabled “@” reply tags from appearing in tweets sent by the app. In a final blow to its “friends,” Instagram disabled Twitter Cards, which allow content to be previewed from within a tweet. Now users have to click though to Instagram’s website to view a photo posted to Twitter.
Then along comes Vine. Twitter acquired the video-sharing app that allows video snippets up to six seconds long to be quickly shared and easily viewed within a user’s Twitter feed. But, as part of Twitter, Vine automatically becomes persona non grata to Facebook. Zuck’s group immediately pulled the plug on integration that allowed users to find Facebook friends on Vine. They also disabled Vine posts on Facebook from automatically playing like they do on Twitter.
Now to be fair, these are businesses and not grade school kids. And while on one hand it makes sense not to aid your client base in utilizing your competition’s services, how smart of a business practice is it to stymie them?
Besides, are Facebook and Twitter true competitors? They really offer very different services — the former encourages sharing extensive content and personal information with a multi-level network of friends, family, and colleagues, while the latter is all about microblogging: sharing brief snippets in real time that are viewed linearly.
It seems time will tell whether these school yard moves help or hurt Facebook in the long run. But for now, Facebook and Twitter … In the words of the late, great Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?”