Despite assurances that it would stay independent following its acquisition by Facebook, a recent move by Instagram may affect the way images are displayed on rival social network Twitter, after the photo-sharing service disabled support for media displayed Cards.

This means that over time, Instagram images will no longer display inline on Twitter.com and will require users to click links to view images on the Instagram website.

“Because of that, we wanted to make sure we direct users to where the content lives originally, so they get the full Instagram experience,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said on stage at LeWeb in Paris, “It’s just about where do you go to interact with that image? We want that to be on Instagram.com because it has a better user experience currently.”

In a post on its Status support site earlier, Twitter warned that some “users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter,” adding that images may be cropped when viewed on Twitter.com.

Twitter explained: “Instagram [disabled] its Twitter cards integration, and as a result, photos are being displayed using a pre-cards experience. So, when users click on Tweets with an Instagram link, photos appear cropped.”

In our tests, images displayed fine, but the NYTimes has reported cropping issues.

Following the annoucement of the $1 billion acquisition by Facebook, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom was quick to confirm that the service was “not going away” and that the company will work with Facebook to evolve the service and build the network.

He said at the time that users would also be able to continue sharing to other social networks and that the app will keep all of its features.

Systrom explains the decision:

“Mark Zuckerberg originally said that Instagram would continue sharing to Twitter, that still is true today. Obviously, things change as a company evolves and I don’t think we ever said nothing would change. We are always going to be improving the experience for users and we are always going to be making sure we evolve where we are. I want to make sure our users have the best experience.”

From what we can tell, sheparding users back to the Instagram website can only result in one thing – monetization. Instagram isn’t able to advertise on Twitter, but it can on its own site. If more users return home, it can build upon what its parent company is trying to do – make money.

Image Credit: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty