Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky, Instagram. In an announcement on Monday, the photo/social sharing service let some new policy fly that turned the internet on it’s ear. If you’re like us and you missed it because you don’t read EULAs, Terms of Services, and all that jazz, the lowdown is that Instagram is set to start selling your photos on January 16, 2013, meaning that for the first time since it’s inception, Instagram is on track to monetize.
That’s right. Pretty soon, photos uploaded to Instagram are no longer your property, and can be bought and sold by Instagram and other companies for promotional purposes without paying you a dime. Pretty awful, right? But, the awfulness doesn’t stop right there. Let’s play out a scenario. Imagine you a parent of a young child, and you and your wife take a vacation in Hawaii at a resort hotel, taking photos of the child via Instagram during the entire trip. Once uploaded to the service, the resort in Hawaii could send a check to license those photos and use them for any print advertising campaign they wanted to. Yep, that’s right. It means that your child could be used for advertising without you knowing it. It’s not so innocent anymore right?
So, who’s to blame? Look no further than Instagram’s new parent company, Facebook, who has managed to ruin the service just three months after purchasing it. Forget Facebook’s pledge that no changes would be made to the service when they purchased it. Not only does this new deal change Instagram, but Facebook as well, who could now potentially use your Instagram photos to advertise on the world’s largest social network. Further language in the change suggests that if you delete Instagram before January 16th, then your pictures will not be opted in to the deal, but any photos on the service or taken after the 16th will become the property of Facebook/Instagram and allow them to use it for whatever they want.
What to do then? We believe that a large showing of users deleting their accounts would send the right message to Facebook, and it’s already happening. In fact, it was happening before these changes were announced. Changes to the service in the last few weeks have already sent people packing, and this is likely to send even more down the road and into the sunset. For those brave enough to stick around and see what happens, the new policy even lets you know that you’ll be advertised to death, something that was NEVER part of Instagram before the sellout. Look at the language used in the policy changes:
“you acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”
In other words: we’re going to show you some ads, but you might not know it. Just like “sponsored” posts have become part of the Facebook experience, “sponsored” Instagram accounts may involuntarily show up in your feed. Cue audible groans here.
Will you be deleting your Instagram account? Let us know in the comments below, and keep it parked right here at JustUs Geeks for more on this in the days to come!