Instagram, a social media networking site has curved a niche for itself in the mobile photo-sharing realm. Founded in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Cheyenne Foster, the social network become an instant hit and currently boasts of over 100 million active users.
On April 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for reportedly $1 billion in cash and stock and pledged to manage it independently; althoughInstagram sparked recent controversy as the new owners try to monetize it.
The concerns emanate from a recent press release made by Instagram that it had updated its terms of service to grant it the rights to sell users photos to third parties without compensation or notification. This sparked a litany of criticisms from consumers, privacy advocates, and even resulted to the National Geographic, among many others, suspending their Instagram account. In a spirited effort to salvage the situation Instagram retracted its earlier statement and it’s currently in process of rephrasing the contentious clause in the terms of service.
To put into perspective some of the user concerns that resulted in the global backlash included the following.
- No Compensation
- Lack of Reference to Source of the Image
- Free Pass to Users Photos Even after Opting Out
Though most social media sites, like Facebook, often use personal information, hobbies, likes etc. for internet advertising purposes, the direct and unsolicited use of personal photos and likeness images is a bit too farfetched. The whole concept of using images to spur advertising is pushing users too far in regard to disclosure of private information.
Users from rank and file ranging from TV personalities to sports figures fretted arguing that the updated Terms of Service would expose them to unfair situations as the service provider had the rights to sell their images to the highest bidder without compensating them.
In addition, to Instagram pocketing 100% of the profits from the images, the updated terms of service didn’t require the source of the image to be cited. This is quit detrimental to persons who use the service to market their skills or services, such photographers and artists.
Even if users deactivate their accounts, Instagram still had the right to use the pictures stored in their database. Whether this implies that the service provider has the rights to sell the photos for advertising purposes is an issue not yet explicitly defined by the firm.
After a public relations nightmare, Instagram went back on their terms by explaining in more clear language as well as removing the questionable text.
We recently started posting images to our Instagram account and definitely questioned to keep it active. Due to the changes Instagram will implement after public outcry we’re keeping our account active so please follow us!