Changes to Privacy Policy, is it the beginning of the end for Instagram?

Some people are calling it the company’s suicide note and others are threatening to leave the social network all together. What I can say is that unless some quick foot work is done by Instagram the photo social network purchased by face book earlier this year may become shunned by the people (photographers) who made it what it is.

My first impressions of this site were mixed but I generally like it as an easy way to share my pictures across multiple social platforms, in a modern world where people are inter connected on their separate social islands.

As of 16th of January 2013, Instagram is changing their Privacy Policy to allow the site to sell and license users pictures without monetary remuneration to the user.

A notice updating the privacy policy on the Instagram site said:

“We may share your information as well as information from tools like cookies, log files,

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom speaks at the LeWeb conference in Paris. (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

and device identifiers and location data with organisations that help us provide the service to you… (and) third-party advertising partners.”

“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” 

This means that if a marketing company for a resort somewhere in the world needs a lot of images of the resort and people having fun at the resort all they would have to do is go to Instagram, and pay for images geotagged at resort resort. This could also mean that images of children could be sold without the parents’ permission

New York photographer Clayton Cubbit has stated that this is Instagram’s suicide note. Twitter users have been letting their feelings be heard as well ; @asteris said ““You agree that third parties may pay us to display you data/actions in connection w paid content w.o compensation to you” Hell no #Instagram” and @almata tweeted “Goodbye #Instagram. Your new terms of service are totally stupid and nonsense. Good luck playing with the big boys.”.

The best response has come from Reginald Braithwaite, an author and software developer, who posted a tongue-in-cheek “translation” of the new Instagram policy today:

“You are not our customers, you are the cattle we drive to market and auction off to the highest bidder. Enjoy your feed and keep producing the milk.”

The issue is that people are weary of these changes especially since the ownership of Instagram is now in the hands of Facebook. Facebook has had a history of not being a friend to users’ privacy. Maybe this is the future of social networks. These are services that have a lot of costs in server hosting and programming, yet have no direct income except from advertising, but as the film “The Social Network” pointed out advertising is not cool. People don’t want adverts and people want it for free.

For photography the right of the image should be held by the photographer unless they agree to sell their copyright but then they are crazy, when licensing a picture makes more sense. I know with Flickr you can choose how you want an image used even to the possibility of earning money from an image by letting it be catalogued by an image library. Google+ has a similar policy as that of Instagram now, before their change. This change in the pirvacy policy could hypothetically make Instagram the biggest image library (though filled with duck face portraits and coffee cups).

Instagram has said that the aim of their change is so that it can work closer with Facebook.

“This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used,” it said in a statement.

Instagram has also protected themselves from the possibility of future law suits linked to images being sold by adding “we will not be liable for any use or disclosure of content” and “Instagram will not be liable for any use or disclosure of any content you provide.” into the policy agreement.

There are other changes which, some will see as sensible like, the change to the minimum of a user being 13 years of age and no pornographic images being allowed.

To get out of your images being available to be possibly sold you need delete your account before the 16th of January 2013.

People are saying that this is the end of Instagram. I would say no. People are still using Facebook after its many changes to privacy and then backtracking. But still each change has meant that people’s privacy has been slowly eroded. This is not Facebook though this is Instagram. It could be that the photographers which gave Instagram its credibility will leave to protect their rights and we will be left with the usually journal entry images. Or those photographers will stay and a payment system will put in place where, people can pay to protect their privacy.

Will I stay? I will see what happens over this change, maybe they will do a you turn, if not I am happy to keep using twitter especially now it has its own photo sharing system in place.

If this will affect you or not, what do you think of such changes? Are you for them or are you against them. Let me know your opinion, positive or negative and as you usual you can do this with the comments box below.

4 thoughts on “Changes to Privacy Policy, is it the beginning of the end for Instagram?

  1. What we are being told by facebook and Instagram, as well as others I’m sure, is bend over and kiss your IP goodbye… I am so done with invasion of privacy on a huge, government-sanctioned scale…

  2. I don’t think it’s too crazy if you don’t worry about copyright. I don’t. Anyone can download my images for free, but if they want to use them commercially they must ask. I guess this isn’t totally a move toward neglecting copyright on my part, but I don’t see it as too menacing a concern. Just a thought. I hope you’re well.

    • Hi, I’m doing good thanks. I think your approach to copyright is not negligent as it is the way that you work with it. I find the approach healthy as you are still keeping ownership of the image.

      I use alot of stock images when designing especially when i have not been somewhere like Chicago and need a source for an aspect of a design. Then again if this was for commission then i would use paid for stock images as they are usually of a higher quality and the client pays for it.

      Hope your doing well. Thanks for the comment.

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