Instagram In Jeopardy?

Last week, we talked about Instagram, what people like about it, what people don’t like about it, and how people like to use this thriving platform. We polled our team in an anonymous online survey to gather a sampling of data, and some of the dislikes we heard about included selfies, and the overuse of hashtags.

But everyone’s favourite photo sharing social network, Instagram, has updated their Privacy and Terms of Service via their blog.

Effective January 16th, 2013, Instagram user data will be available to it’s “Affiliates” i.e. Facebook, which likely means it will soon after be accessible to advertisers. While this is great news for advertising in the industry, it has caused many Instagram users to become wary of the social network. Time will tell if this billion-dollar acquisition will pay off vs. ad spend.

The true impact of the newly defined Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for Instagram is not clear, but thus far response from users in the social sphere has been negative, with plenty of discussion about Instagram alternatives, and boycotting initiatives.  On the flip side, many social media advocates have noted that variations of the notion that free services actually cost the user to relinquish their rights to content in favor of the provider. Whether users will walk the walk or talk to the talk is TBD! While the future of Instagram remains hazy due to user’s privacy woes and cross-platform integration issues with Twitter, various apps and networks are already lining up to take it’s place.

Potential frontrunners for Instagram are:

Pick, a photo sharing app considered the Instagram of Japan, which gives users the choice to use filters, in addition to icon stamps such has glasses, wigs, bowties, etc.

Hipstamatic, the predecessor to Instagram, which was a paid app with similar concept might make a resurgence if they play their privacy cards right.

Starmatic, Paris based version of Instagram, inspired by Kodak, offers a variety of filters and similar user experience, prompting you to “rediscover photography

We’ll be following closely but ultimately, only the best hybrid combination of user experience and advertising opportunities will survive and thrive.

Wanna know what people are saying? Here’s just a bit of the buzz filtering through Twitter today:

  • FigMama

    Honestly, despite the new ToS, I will likely keep using Instagram. Unless advertisers are looking to use heavily filtered images of my long-nippled dog, I think I’m safe.

  • casiestewart

    You can release your Instagram photos under Creative Commons here.
    I don’t really care, I use so many photo apps and my life is public. Love all the banter though. HAHA to the hipster tweet!

  • Sean Beckingham

    Great post!

  • Coluch
  • Coluch

    “The new terms actually make things clearer and — importantly — more limited. That “on, about, or in conjunction” with language is dead and gone. Now you’re only agreeing that someone else can pay Instagram to display your photos and other information only in connection with paid or sponsored content. These phrases have very specific meanings — Instagram can’t sell your photos to anyone, for example. It simply doesn’t have permission. And Budweiser isn’t allowed to crop your photo of a bar, slap a logo on it, and run it as an ad on Instagram — that would go well beyond “display” and into modification, which Instagram doesn’t have a license to do. (In fact, the old Instagram terms allowed for modification, but the new ones don’t — they actually got better for users in that regard.) In technical legal terms, Instagram doesn’t have the right to create a “derivative work” under 17 USC §106. The company can’t sell your photos, and it can’t take your photos and change them in any meaningful way.”

  • Jennifer Stack

    Great points, Coluch! Thanks for your insight! :)

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