Twitter appears poised to take on Instagram directly by offering sets of photo filters through its mobile apps, according to a report in The New York Times.
The Times reported that "in the coming months, Twitter plans to update its mobile applications to introduce filters for photos that will allow people to share altered images on Twitter and bypass Instagram."
If true, this would potentially be a very big move for Twitter, because it could keep people taking photos on smartphones from using the Facebook-owned Instagram altogether. Whether or not Twitter could create as passionate a community around the taking and sharing of such photos as Instagram has would be an open question. Another question is whether users would be able to share their filtered photos from Twitter's apps to Facebook.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment.
"According to one Twitter employee, the company's V.I.T.'s, or Very Important Tweeters, as they are known internally, usually celebrities and media personalities, would be especially happy to see filters in the Twitter mobile apps," the Times wrote. "Most V.I.T.'s now use Instagram to take photos, and then share them on Twitter, where they often have a larger following."
Some think that Facebook bought Instagram in the first place in part to keep it out of Twitter's hands. Subsequently, Twitter is thought by many to have considered buying its own photo-sharing service in the wake of Facebook's acquisition of Instagram -- valued at around $1 billion at the time. "After meeting with and appraising some companies, Twitter's executives decided the price tags were not worth the goods, and decided the company could build its own filters instead," reported the Times.