Instagram and the Power of Social Media

This week has seen a huge backlash against Instagram’s new terms and conditions regarding photo rights. The new terms and conditions appeared to claim that unless users deleted their profiles by the 16th January then all content published on the site becomes fair game for Instagram to sell to third parties or use in advertising, without acknowledgement of the photographer. The announcement comes shortly after their split from Twitter and would make Instagram become a money-making enterprise for Facebook, who recently bought the app.

The announcement was met with dismay and outrage as everyone’s favourite photo sharing platform appeared to be selling out. Many prominent celebrities took to their Twitter accounts to voice their outrage:

On Tuesday, in the wake of the backlash, Instagram released another statement backpedalling on the original claims they had made. The new statement, entitled ‘Thank you, and we’re listening’, announced that this was all just a big misunderstanding due to the jargon in their original statement. Apparently they will not be selling users’ photos to third parties after all, but they do want to be able to use images for their own advertising. They are currently working on an updated terms and conditions that will make it clear that Instagram have no ‘intention to sell your photos’.

As this storm blows over, we are left with the facts that our photos are safe for now but Instagram is not safe from advertising. At the end of the day, Facebook needs to make money from the platform after spending a $1 billion on buying it. It seems doubtful that user numbers will drop dramatically but Instagram’s reputation has definitely taken a heavy knock this week and has shown that they will be moving forcefully into the world of advertising.

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