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What's the fuss Instagram users?

News of Instagram changing their terms of service and privacy policy sent users in a complete pandemonium yesterday. Most said they were going to shut down their Instagram account, others were not sure what they were going to do but weren’t happy. Once the Internet started buzzing (you know Social Media is the quickest way to get to the masses) Instagram had to do some damage control and Co-founder Kevin Systrom had to address the backlash and clarify exactly what the wording meant. If for some reason you were under a rock or (God forbid) out of service area and don’t know what was going on with Instagram, they provided their new terms of service which read “you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.” It also said, “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.” Well, let us just say MANY people didn’t like the new terms of service. Systrom, in his statement, acknowledged how the wording could be misconstrued they were going to sell photos and not provide any compensation.


Coming from an Advertising background I didn’t know how to react at first. I’m not a contract specialist and I don’t have a legal background but I know models and photographers sign contracts and the better they are the more money they make. So if you’re a well-known or aspiring photographer or model I can see why you would be in an uproar. That could be money out of your pocket. A photographer has the right to use any of their work for promotional use however can not sell/provide/give to a 3rd party without the consent of the person(s)/property in the photo. Therefore, were people thinking Instagram would take their sepia, hefe or tear dropped photos and sell them for money and they would be cut out of the deal? Again I can see people who deal with professional photos being in an uproar since agencies continually deal with clients who want great branding campaigns but don’t want to pay for the quality. This would open up a low-quality platform for minimal monetary output.


I doubted true Photographers used Instagram as a platform to promote their work but a close friend of mine who works in Advertising and who is a great photographer said “photographers capture behind the scenes stuff, this kind of printing themselves. Buyers and editors follow them.” So again, I can see why THEY would squawk – it diminishes their business. But what about the wanna-be? Your average Joe now thinks they are a photographer because of the filters and options Instagram provides. Why are they in such an uproar? I’ve seen serious debates on Facebook and Instagram on staying or leaving Instagram and I just can’t grasp why. Instagram is a business that provides a FREE service and although it’s free they still have employees and bills to pay and other expenses. How do you expect them to do that? By selling things. Instagram is owned by Facebook and Facebook sells sponsored ads as well as user information (among other things) in order to stay a FREE service. So Instagram was/is just doing the same thing. Did you know Twitter’s terms of service have almost the identical language to Instagram’s? How come no uproar? Probably because no one got a hold of it and put it on blast.


For now, I will keep my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. I will do what I can to make them private, I will continue to not post things I think can come back to bite me later and I will stay connected with the people who want to connect with me.



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