If anyone on Instagram can just link to any old store on the web, how can Instagram — meaning Facebook, Instagram’s increasingly-overbearing owner — tightly control commerce on its platform? If Instagram users could post links willy-nilly, they might even be able to connect directly to their users, getting their email addresses or finding other ways to communicate with them. Links represent a threat to closed systems.
Ultimately not allowing links is a form of control, and it’s teaching us that this is what the web is. I actually enjoy Instagram, though it’s the social network I’m most likely to waste time on. I hate Facebook and don’t have an account but I’m not sure than any “open and decentralized” version of Instagram is going to fly.