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Instagram Tries to Change Its Policy

Posted on the 20 December 2012 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012

Instagram symbolYesterday, social media was ablaze after reports started to emerge that the company had changed its policy to that which it would essentially be able to sell user’s photos to companies without compensating the user.  Instagram users took to Twitter and Facebook to voice their displeasure.  Many users hastily deleted their account.  Many celebrities have already deleted their accounts out of fear that their pictures will be used for advertising purposes without their consent.  The new changes were supposed to go into effect on January 16th.

In addition, National Geographic posted on its account that it would be suspending posting new photos until there is a clarification to the new terms.  Later that evening Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram, blogged that there was a miscommunication of sorts and that by no means would Instagram sell photos without consent from the user (don’t know if I believe him, but I sure believe that he got scared he’d begun the downfall of his fledgling company). 

I have an Instagram account.  As well as a Facebook and Twitter account.  I do not post pictures of myself or my family on these social media apparatuses.  No matter the written policies I don’t trust that the pictures aren’t stored somewhere in perpetuity.  I am very cautious with what I post as well.  I think it is a bit naive to think that you can post something online and it somehow remains private.  If you want your thoughts to remain private, don’t post anything.

As for this latest controversy, I did not delete my account for the following reason.  I first did not believe for a second that this would end up happening.  There is no way this company would be able to survive the departure of most of its users.  Many people have started accounts because they follow other users be them celebrities or other organizations.  If they go, so will their fan base (I one of them).

I think people need to remember that Facebook recently bought Instagram.  Facebook has certainly had its share of privacy setting backlash.  In the end, the users always win.  Some people may have forgotten that not too long ago Facebook floated the idea of charging a $1 annual membership.  The backlash to that proposal shut down any future suggestion.

My questions to you are the following:

If you do use any social media, do you honestly believe that your statuses, tweets, updates or pictures will forever remain public?

And do you really believe that Instagram would systematically kill its company by changing its policy to where it essentially steals the rights of your photo?

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