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Instagram blocking “add me” links, and honestly, it’s kind of petty

More and more social media platforms are making changes to their services, from algorithms to terms of service. Here’s what you need to know about one of Instagram’s latest changes.


Network elsewhere, folks

In this age of fast-paced technology and social media overload, it seems odd that one social media platform is resisting certain networking elements. Instagram is now blocking the use of “add me” links to messaging platforms including Snapchat and Telegram on users’ profile pages.

TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas was first to report this behavior and Instagram responding, stating, “[they’d] removed the ability to include ‘add me’ links on Instagram profile pages. This was a rare use-case, and not the way [the] platform was intended to be used. Other types of links are still allowed.”

What are “add me” links and why do they matter?

“Add me” links are links to your profiles or information on other sites. They give your followers a quick way to add you on other social networking sites without having to search for your username. The odd thing isn’t the restriction on the links, but rather the restriction is only being placed on links for certain platforms.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov, stated, deep-linking to other social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, VK, and Periscope are still functional.

Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment: while blocking only two platforms seems a bit odd, it really is in Instagram’s best interest to remove this information. By blocking this information, users will have to leave Instagram and actually seek out the information on their own, removing the instant gratification that is direct linking. By doing this, some users may be more likely to stay on Instagram instead of leaving to check out other sites. You wouldn’t expect Pepsi to allow links to Coca-Cola on their site and I think the same holds true for Instagram. Especially when you consider Snapchat and Telegram serve similar functions as Instagram.

Here’s the caveat, though

While I can see the reasoning behind this move, Lomas, pointed out that Instagram’s terms of use do not contain language preventing the use of “add me” links. In which case, Instagram may get themselves into a bit of hot water over allowing some links, but preventing other. In fact, their Terms of Use states, “There may be links from the service, or from communications you receive from the service, to third-party websites or features. There may also be links to third-party websites or features in images or comments within the service.”

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However, as most Terms of Use and Terms of Service agreements state, Instagram’s also states, “We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change these Terms of Use (“Updated Terms”) from time to time. Unless we make a change for legal or administrative reasons.” They also state, “We reserve the right to modify or terminate the Service or your access to the Service for any reason, without notice, at any time, and without liability to you.”

While it is utterly and completely frustrating when your favorite social media platform no longer allows you to do the things you’ve become accustomed to doing, it is certainly in their purview to do so. What do you think of Instagram’s decision? Will it change how you use the service?


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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