What do you think of Instagram now

Yesterday Instagram wrote an article to their users on their blog regarding the frenzy that happened earlier this week due to their announcement of changes that are to occur to Intagram’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy come early January.

Instantly the Internet reacted negatively to their proposed changes as the jargon used did insinuate that Instagram images posted by its users were going to be sold to advertisers, this was in the TOS section of the legal document. Although, elsewhere, such as their privacy policy suggested that this was not going to happen and that you were still the owner of your images. Now, they are recanting their original message due to the “confusion”, or perhaps the huge amount of deleted accounts they began seeing.

I have always been on the business side of social networks regarding them providing a free service in return for them to take data that we allow. I am not much of a “privacy” is needed person when it comes to the Internet, in fact, I don’t think it exists and the more social we get, which is what we want, the less privacy we will be able to keep without losing the free sites we have come to enjoy.

With that said, as long as the sites are forthcoming with their intentions I am usually okay with their changes, however, although Instagram states that they do not intend to sell our images, their legal jargon did allude to that.

Now they have told its users that they are listening and do intend to change the wording within the TOS so it is less confusing since they did not mean to imply that they were going to steal images from its users.  Instead, they were trying to relay a possibility much like their owners, Facebook, to give profiles and businesses a way to promote their account or images, which sounds much like Facebook’s promoted posts, but instead it would be for users to promote their images to amplify their reach and have the ability to gain more followers.

Boy that sounds a lot different now doesn’t it?

Perhaps the blame is on us, maybe the majority of us were confused, or were we? It would have been a lot simpler if they had ensured that we had an option that it was to help us in return help them remain a business.

I understand that other social sites use our data towards advertisers and as many fought in the past to have options, this is just another lesson for social sites, start-ups or any other site that is a user based business to understand that in order for them to remain a business they need their “product”, the people. That means using careful, thought out wording and deciding on how to make money without damaging the relationship with users must be a top priority for your social site, especially when issuing any changes to the Terms of Service or Privacy Policy. If not, sell something in a box, boxes don’t talk.

Although I personally did not delete my account, I know of many who have and who were surprised by the “confused wording” that Instagram provided. Although I believe privacy and the Internet oppose each other, I do believe that we had a right to worry, to question and even if all of us were “confused”, it is better to live in a world where we still express our thoughts and opinions then let anything else take us over, that is not silly, that is smart and we showed Instagram, as we have with other social sites, what Social Media truly is, it is the united voice of the people.

That will never be wrong.

[Feedback image via inspiredwednesdays]

Leave a Reply


  1. I posted this on Facebook, but I’ll post here too. My apologies if some of you are double reading. 🙂

    I write contracts, and when you are the person writing one you are very aware of your words and how they could be interpreted. I don’t think the folks at Instagram are any different.

    They could have worded it many other ways, but their choice was pretty obvious that they had ulterior motives. Their so called ‘spam’ reasoning makes no sense whatsoever. They just probably hoped people wouldn’t notice or it would die off quickly.

    Whether they were really going to sell the pics or not, who knows. But the thing that sticks out in my mind is why word their TOS that way at all to begin with? Was it worth the risk?

    I don’t think it was confusing wording at all. They got caught and are scrambling now to save face. As far as I’m concerned it’s too little too late. BTW I did not delete my account either. But I will be careful how I use it from now on. Great article Erin! 🙂

  2. Alex

    I still think this is a bit of a joke. You can clearly see them back peddling….”oh…the uhh…language was confusing…” That’s basically the only angle they had left to take. I first found this out on http://www.simply-social.com.au though.

  3. I think that going public was the worst thing for FB. I say this because the executive management team is now being directed wholly by the quarterly conference calls with the analyst community that ultimately will dictate their stock price. The investment community is unforgiving, and demands revenue and profit number increases each quarter, that will drive the stock prices forward. (I’ve been their, this is a sweatbox). They are also looking for transparency from Zuck who will discuss future plans that will lead to better stock performance. (This may be problematic because the FB infrastructure is cobbled. Evidenced by its poor performance and ability to make some ergonomic changes, the FB team is between a rock and a hard place).
    I can imagine the following scenario. Zuck to his management team: Find me more revenue! Management team: Ok, we should be able to get the revenue by charging for this and that. These FB users are loyal, cause after all, we created the greatest social network in all the world.
    I place the blame for FB actions and their eventual decline on an inexperience Zuck and management team.