At the end of last month, I joined the throng of people on the Internet who objected to the new terms of agreement in the Instagram user policy, which were then scheduled to take effect on January 16. I complained on Facebook, and then tweeted @Instagram to inform them that the policy was "disappointing and shitty."
Specifically, this sentence:
You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your user name, 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.
I found the terms to be offensive, but it wasn't the matter of compensation that bothered me. It was partially the idea of a lack of attribution. But mostly it was the notion of Instagram profiting off of the fun of its
As with any Internet uproar, it's only a matter of time before the people who didn't join in the immediate objection decide that all the people originally complaining are low-information hysterics, and they start making fun of them. Which was annoying, because it's an insult, and because you don't have to be a rocket scientist (or a lawyer) to correctly interpret what is meant by the sentence above. What I found to be particularly condescending was the implication that Instagram users were spoiled brats for insisting that they keep enjoying the service for free while maintaining ownership over the photos that they worked to create. Instagram thrived for over a year and a half before Facebook acquired it, apparently without a need to commodify its users' profiles and photos. There are plenty of Internet and app services that continue to function successfully without threatening to profit off of their users' information.
Joining Facebook, on the other hand, has long been known the equivalent of succumbing to a social media devil's deal. I try to reduce the amount of information I share on Facebook by not listing "favorites," not liking companies, and listing certain things as "private." The entertainment, information, and human connection that I get out of Facebook weighs the scales in favor of continued usage, despite the privacy concerns.
Part of the reason I publicly complained about Instagram is because of what I later referred to as the "democratizing force of social media." If millions of people started bitching at the company, perhaps they would change their terms, and I wouldn't have to delete my account. Shocker: This is actually what happened. Not without a patronizing "clarification" accusing people of misinterpreting the sentence, however.
So here's where we are today:
1. Instagram users continue to own their images.
2. Instagram still belongs to Facebook and they will still be using information you share for the purposes of advertising.
In other words, I'm fairly certain little has changed from the original intent in the language released on December 17, and it's not like Instagram is not going to be something that just hangs around being fun and not making money for Facebook. But at least that particular sentence, and any future legal conditions it could have allowed, is no longer present.
So, I hope I'm not going to regret this, but: I'm keeping Instagram. I wasn't afraid of losing my photos by deleting my account; all of the photos I have created were always uploaded to Flickr at the same time. But there are 547 of them, and I've just gotten good at creating more beautiful Instagram shots, and Instagram just came out with web-based profiles, and I still like all the filters more than I like filters on other photo apps. Finally, I've decided that if I don't intend to delete my Facebook account, there's no reason for me to delete my Instagram account. (Though I am open to hearing any Instagram-based evils that I haven't considered, if anyone knows of any!)
In the meantime, post-hubbub, I have to say, the magic has been diminished a bit. I thought I'd Instagram my photos from Christmas, but thanks to some remaining sour feelings about the app, I ended posting only a couple of them. I used the Flickr app instead (which was updated with an entirely new and easier-to-use format just days before the Instagram incident). The Flickr app offers several lovely filters, though it could use more of them. And the social media aspect (though offered in the Flickr app as well) IN a photo app platform itself has never been my main interest, in reference to photo apps.
Coincidentally, around the time of the Instagram hubbub, I had drafted a post about Instagram clichés, mainly in response to the video below (don't let the reference to "Nickelback" deter you from playing it!), wherein I recounted the instances in which I had fallen victim the clichés described:
video h/t: KW
Since I am now the cliché of the "social media user who threatens in vain to quit," might as well share my own crimes from the list of clichés in the song!
✓ eggs benedict
✓ fingernails - Plus bonus nails in selfies, latte art, and food porn.
✗ accidental boobs
✓ plane's wing in the air - "Letting the world know you didn't fly first class."
✗ city lights
✗ old door
✗ old sign in front of abandoned store
✓ thing that reminds me of a penis
✗ fortune cookie fortune
✓ coffee foam
✗ pretentious tome - Really, I don't have this?
✗ garden gnome
✓ clouds - Sort of. I aimed at the sky, not the clouds.
✗ duck - Isn't a cliché so much as it merely rhymes with "f***."
✓ setting sun
✗ pics of kids
*Amanda Instagram Cliché: Cheeseburgers. Too many put in this post.