Instagram is bringing back link previews for Twitter
Once upon a time, Instagram links in tweets used to show a full-sized image preview, and tapping on the preview would take you to the post. However, Instagram later removed this ability, forcing anyone who wanted to see even a glimmer of the post to follow the link. After years of this annoyance, Instagram has decided once again to support link previews.
Instagram announced in a tweet on Wednesday that sharing Instagram links on Twitter will now display a small preview, similar to how most articles and other media appear on Twitter. “When you share an Instagram link on Twitter a preview of that post will appear,” the company said.
They said it would never happen… Twitter Card previews start rolling out TODAY. 👀
Now, when you share an Instagram link on Twitter a preview of that post will appear. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/XSZRx9dzd1
— Instagram (@instagram) November 3, 2021
It’s important to note that implementing link previews for any web page only requires adding a few lines of HTML code. Instagram could have easily implemented link previews at any point over the past few years, but chose not to because it reduces the number of people who tap the link, which in turn gives Instagram less data it can collect.
The lack of image previews for Instagram on Twitter has been a pain since 2012, and has resulted in many workarounds. IFTTT, a popular automation service, has an applet for creating a tweet with the image attached when you post something new on Instagram. Zapier, another automation platform, has a similar template. Both of those are still better than what Instagram is providing — going by the screenshot posted by Instagram, the previews are not full-sized.
Instagram has been pushing its ‘Reels’ feature lately, which allows people to create short videos (15-60 seconds) that can be shared to Stories, the Explore feed, and anywhere else with a link. The company has seemingly realized that more people will tap on a video if they see a thumbnail preview first, so now Instagram has graciously returned link preview support to its pre-2012 state.