Who needs you anyway, Instagram? Twitter adds photo filters to its mobile apps

11 Dec 2012

Just days after Instagram pulled support for displaying its images in Twitter feeds, Twitter has rolled out its longed-for photo filters for its mobile apps – and the playground battle between the social networks continues.

Twitter’s filters come courtesy of Aviary, which has built up a network of more than 2,000 partners for its image-editing SDK, including the likes of Flickr, Box and Imgur.

Image-editing options now available in the Twitter apps for iOS and Android include a crop tool, auto-enhance, and eight different filters – from Vignette to Vintage – not unlike the capabilities Facebook recently added to its iOS app.

Users can preview the effect each filter will have on an image in the grid view or quickly swipe through the different options.


The update is live now. If your app hasn’t updated automatically, simply go to the App Store or Google Play and download it manually.

It comes just in time, too, as Twitter on Monday encouraged users to update their cover photos ahead of the complete roll out of image-led profiles tomorrow.


The introduction of Twitter cards this year (which display additional content in line with tweets, such as images posted from Instagram) benefited the user experience of both services – but then the bickering began.

So far, the battle between Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram has played out thusly: first, Twitter’s API crackdown took away Instagram’s ability to access its follow graph, so users could no longer find friends to follow based on Twitter contacts; then, Instagram moved from being a mobile-only service to having web profiles, and decided it no longer wanted its images nestled into Twitter feeds but rather that they would direct users to its own site.

This move was bad for the user experience and has helped Twitter to come out on top, now appearing like the knight in shining armour, valiantly returning in-line photo-sharing to the masses. Something tells me Instagram’s argument that Twitter started it won’t be enough to sway users.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.