Earlier this week, Twitter (News - Alert) introduced the ability to add color filters to user-uploaded photos, which marks a step further to sharpen its budding rivalry with Facebook (News - Alert). Twitter's filters mimic the popular feature that has defined the booming photo service acquired by Facebook this year for $715 million, Instagram.
For dominance in the social media sector, the move carries symbolic weight in the escalating battle between Facebook and Twitter. Although it affects a small slice of Twitter's overall user experience, the new filters represent a modest product announcement.
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Twitter's new release came days after Instagram unexpectedly said it would no longer allow Twitter to display Instagram photos within Twitter messages. Last week, Kevin Systrom, CEO for Instagram, told Reuters (News - Alert) that the reason was to drive visitors to Instagram's own website. However, he had no specific plans to disclose how he planned to monetize this service.
Based on analysts, Instagram would be a rich vein of advertising revenue for Facebook when, not if, the world's No 1 social network decides to tap it. Twitter mentioned that its new features are powered by Aviary, a New York-based company that develops image-editing software for photo-sharing platforms like Flickr.
In recent years, the medium has proved to be massively popular to users especially after photo integration was supported by social networks whereas, video-sharing, for instance, has not quite caught on.
In November on election night, according to an early Twitter investor, Bijan Sabet, the emotive quality of photos were on display. However, breaking the record as the most widely circulated tweet of all time was the image of President Obama hugging his wife Michelle the moment he claimed victory.
Earlier this year, by making an offer to Instagram valued at the time at $1 billion, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shocked Silicon Valley as he similarly argued for the importance of photo-sharing. As part of an update to Twitter's iPhone and Android (News - Alert) apps, the company stated that its new photo effects will be incorporated and will be available mid-December.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman