December 18, 2012 - Comments Off on Instantaneous exit talk from Instagram users

Instantaneous exit talk from Instagram users

Just when we were all starting to hop on board the Instagram bandwagon, it seems that many of us will now likely be jumping ship for a safer harbour.

Today, 18th December, Instagram revealed a preview of their new Terms of Use policy, effective from 16th January 2013.  Instagram users who’ve previously loved the platform’s sharing ways and polished finish have been voicing  two key concerns with the new policy:

  1. They might find their photos being used in advertising without their permission
  2. If people’s photos are used in advertising they will not receive any payment from Instagram.

Since Facebook bought Instagram there have been tell-tale signs that changes may be on the horizon and the battle between Instagram and Twitter also heated up.

Twitter cards, (which enabled Twitter users to see images shared on Twitter from Instagram) were disabled by Instagram.

This wasn’t a hugely popular decision. However, when Twitter brought out its own photo filtering service shortly after that, the game was well and truly on.  Today’s announcement regarding privacy policy changes has been met with a prickly response from the platform’s users. Moving forwards, this may give Twitter the edge in the photo-sharing platform race. If you’re interested in the differences between Twitter’s filters and Instagram,  Kristen Nicole from Silicon Angle offers a handy direct comparison of the two services.

This latest development ties into the ongoing wider debate about privacy and the media. In my opinion, this is not a good time to be informing  people that their property is going to be used by media, be it social or other, in order for material gain, because people need to be able to trust companies that they share their data with in an age of growing online sharing.

Today’s debate reminds me of the ‘pre-digital’ age when people really feared identity theft and were scared about their data being shared.  That’s certainly what my parents used to warn me about,  though their primary concern was making sure I shredded all of my debit card receipts!  With the dawn of digital, my ever-helpful parents said that I should never post anything on the internet that I wouldn’t be happy with them seeing.   This was a good way of self-moderating images and updates to ensure that I didn’t let my Saturday night meet my Monday morning!

However, I’m obviously an advocate for sharing and discussing content via social media, and in embracing the share and share-alike culture we live in. But I do believe we have to be a bit less precious with our content.

That doesn’t mean I think anyone should plagiarise, nick someone’s photo to create a fake account, duplicate another blogger’s article or anything like that.  What I’m saying, is that if you put a photo up there on a public platform, you need to be aware that it is going to get shared.  The most important point for me in regards to the Instagram changes is that this sharing could happen without people even knowing and could be done for commercial gain.

I think Instagram have missed a trick really. They could be raising up devoted Instagram users through advertising,thanking them for being such devoted lovers of the service and featuring them as brand champions – making friends with their brand advocates rather than alienating them.

As a side note:  how likely is it that Instagram will actually use photos for advertising? Could it be that they are just covering themselves, as privacy is such a big deal currently?

I’m personally torn between deleting my account(s) and just going along with the whole thing.  After all, if you don’t want something to be seen/shared/viewed, then in the dawn of digital,  you may not want to put it on the internet!

What do you think of the update? Will you be deleting your account? Or do you think that Instagram will backtrack after seeing today’s responses?