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Instagram Can Sell Your Selfies

Dec 18 • SEO, Tech and Social Media News • 146 Views • No Comments

Instagram Dollar Sign Changes to their Terms of ServiceOpinion post by Martin Kuhlman. This post reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily

Instagram appears to be going through a change in popular perception since the Facebook takeover – and not one for the better.

On Monday Instagram released the latest blow, their new privacy policy, which kicks in on Jan. 16. And for any one of the photo-sharing app’s 100 million users who want little or nothing to do with Facebook, it’s bad news.

Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram, now has the right to share all your information with his boss, Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, all of it, in most all the ways you can imagine – to the point where the pair will even have the right to sell your “likeness” to advertisers without your knowledge. Before we know it your filtered images, which alone look artistic and chic, will probably be laden with ads.

The new policy, in shockingly brazen language, says: “You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

Just pause for a moment to imagine a future you relaxing on the couch, opening the laptop and seeing an ad — one of those faux-amateur, gauzy collections of images of everyday life used to sell just about everything. Only one of the images is you, or your spouse, or your avocado and field mushroom gourmet breakfast next to “I’d rather be at McDonalds.”

Or even worse, consider the fact that your user name and images can be used to promote whatever they want. I mean if an image of you appearing on a billboard isn’t scary enough, it’s the fact that money has changed hands regarding that image you took of yourself, your family or your friends. Not only did you fail to see a single cent from the deal, but the whole experience of taking and sharing pics seems somehow soiled.

And what can you do about this? You can’t even reject the changes in privacy policy! Facebook unfortunately isn’t a democracy any more, you can’t even vote on changes. Facebook’s shareholders have most of the rights these-days. You can only vote with your feet and never use Instagram again. For casual users, even following a link to an Instagram pic constitutes acceptance of the policy.

I mean we understand that Instagram needs to start making money for Facebook, they spent a billion dollars on it.. But I wonder if they are fundamentally misunderstanding the loyalty of the users, and how much brazen change they will withstand in a short space of time. Without any real evidence, I dare say that consumers are being turned off massively by the commercialization of social media lately.

There are tens of millions of people who have only downloaded the app in the last year. As any marketer will tell you, you should not take a short term customer for granted; in many cases there simply hasn’t been enough time to build a deep connection to the brand. If you’re reading, you may feel deeply in love with Instagram, but are you still in the honeymoon phase?

What about Twitter for images or the resurgent Flickr? If you don’t think it’s possible in the fickle market of social media, you might not have heard of Friendster or Myspace?

Are the privacy changes enough to make you try rival services or are you still sold on the filters? Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: Instagram users respond in uproar, here’s 11 of the most interesting responses via Instagram.

FURTHER UPDATE: Instagram has backtracked, but is their lesson learned?

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