Stop Whining About Your Personal Data On Instagram

Have you heard the news? Instagram just updated its terms of service and is giving itself permission to sell the photos you take to advertisers. Lots of users are weeping, threatening to quit and screaming about privacy.

The controversy can be pinned down to a few sentences of legalese that Instagram (or more properly, its corporate masters at Facebook) inserted. Let's read it together:

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.

This means that Instagram can sell the pictures you take of pineapple upside down cake, latte swirls, and your dumb dog, if some company wants to pay for these photos. They can then do whatever the hell they want with them, including putting the photos in advertisements for shoes or cars or whatever.

This prospect is so outrageous to some people that they're fed up with the program, which costs zero dollars to download and zero dollars to use, and are going to take their non-money elsewhere:

What none of these hair-pulling photo-sharing apocalypse-moaners neglect to mention is that Instagram's a business. A business that charges nothing for something that millions of people use constantly. In that sense, it's a crazy business. It's also a business that Facebook bought for one billion dollars. Facebook isn't the World Wildlife Fund or a soup kitchen -- it's also a business, and one with very angry shareholders who expect to see a return on Facebook's insanely insane purchase. Ergo, Instagram needs to start making money.

So it has three options.

Instagram can charge you to download it, in which case, nobody will download it anymore.

Instagram can charge you a subscription to use it, in which case everyone who has downloaded it will stop using it.

Or Instagram can figure out a way to licence the throwaway pictures you capture with 90 seconds of mental activity throughout the day, because it's not a photographic non-profit, and needs some way of keeping its meagre staff of 10 people from being evicted.

Really, you shouldn't care about these pictures to begin with.



    While it may be a business, a good business does not compromise the privacy of its user base: it's called corporate social responsibility. If instragram wanted more money, then surely less invasive measures such as ads or premium services would suffice.

    That means every photo of people you publish on instagram will mean you need to have the people in said photo sign a model release form or you could be successfully sued.

    Just because you, the author, don't care about the photos you take, or at the least - take the viewpoint that photos on Instagram are meaningless, it is condescending of you to conclude that all users shouldn't care about their photos.

    I agree that Instagram needs to start making a return on Facebook's investment, but I don't see selling the privacy rights of users as being the best way to go about doing so.

    How about we buy a photo of Sam from Instagram and feature it in a new genital herpes advertising campaign.

    Then we'll see if he's still unconcerned about free services having free reign of his user data.

    Last edited 19/12/12 2:56 am

      On the other hand, if he was smart, he'd rent his own cloud server (linode, rack space, net registry, etc), set up apache, maybe rent a domain if the IP address is too annoying and upload all his pics there.

      My favourite part of this bit of news was the majority whinging about what they can use next, not, "hey! I'mma make the next big image thing!"

      Personally, I haven't used anything since photo bucket was the in thing.

    This is probably the most inept discussion about media rights I have read in ages. Gawker media really have sunk to a new low - its OK to just "acquire" peoples stuff via this dubious legal mechanism on the grounds that people "deserve it". Sam you are a sad indictment of where media is heading. Best to just user Flickr where rights management is taken seriously, as it should be.

    Don't drug dealers work in the same way? First offering their stuff for free for you to sample and then, when you're hooked, complain that can't keep giving away their stuff for free.

    Or a companies letting everyone use their IP for free and then, when there's a substantial user base, start enforcing their patents.

    Anyhow what did you expect from a company started by a person who's ethically challenged?

    Weakest post Sam Biddle has ever made...

      I think you may have missed some previous gems:

      Last edited 19/12/12 9:13 am

    The "business" of instagram is not the platform for people to share photos, the "business" is selling access to these people.

    What makes people think that their photo of a plate of food is any more special than the other 999,999,999 that are on Instagram anyway?

    I'm not uploading any photos I'd be afraid of being on the front page of the Herald-Sun or The Age and IF Instagram decide to use one of them in advertising or whatever I'd be stoked.

    Suck it up. It's not a conspiracy.

      Think it is more about how they may sell a photo on a lease or whatever and make a few thousand from it and you don't even get a mention, a dollar or a thank you. You don't own the photo when you upload it.

      People at minimum would want recognition for their work(photo) and also rights possibly for it to not be ill used. Maybe they use a photo of you in regards to eating some roast pork or bacon but you're a Muslim and you get in trouble. You have zero recourse.

      Try and think beyond common and think to where it can logically lead to. Personally mine are pics of myself and friends so nothing bad but still I'd like recognition.

    ...what do they say? If you're not paying for the product, you ARE the product.

    Completely ridiculous article - amazing just how far off the mark it is. There's another option - ask if you want to sell your photos and then share a little of the revenue with you. Most people will be interested. Flickr has been doing something similar and I've made a few hundred bucks off it over the years. Flickr and Getty have made a lot more, but that's OK - they asked nicely and gave me a little spending money for my (no) troubles. It's not that hard.

    Just because Instagram is free, doesn't make it OK to rip you off.

    Very well Said Corey1,

    I agree,
    I would suggest most of the hoard would happily agree to a 10% remuneration per photo sold. It may even encourage people to contribute. There could even be a premium service where you pay $50 a year to receive 50% remuneration for every photo sold.

    What would happen if I uploaded a professionally taken photograph I downloaded from the net and claimed it was original?

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