December 21, 2012
Instagram Reinstates Original Terms Of Service After Backlash
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Instagram made headlines once again this week when they announced a change to their privacy policies and terms of service.
These revised terms made their way around the Internet like a wildfire, sparking incendiary disdain amongst the Instagram faithful. A day later, CEO Kevin Systrom attempted to mitigate the rising flame by completely backpedaling and blaming the users for misinterpreting the very plain language laid out in the new changes.
Yesterday, Systrom backpedaled once again, saying the company would return to the original language they used when the company first began in 2010.
“The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos,” writes Systrom in his second passive-aggressive blog post of the week.
“There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work,” he writes.
The confusion which Systrom is speaking about is the entirely clear language found in their earlier changes: “To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, 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.”
Many Instagrammers were outraged and took to other forms of social media, vowing to never use Instagram again. While there was some initial confusion about what exactly Instagram could do with these photos, there wasn´t any confusion about the fact that the company at least wanted to leave the option open. In Systrom´s first response on Tuesday, he subtly insulted the users, saying his company had never intended to sell its users´ photos, simply that they were “experimenting” with the idea.
“Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear,” Systrom explained.
Systrom has taken a similar tone in his recent backpedaling post, essentially saying he´ll speak more slowly next time his company plans to sell users´ photos again.
"Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work," said Systrom.
Though he admitted to returning to the original language, he never mentioned that the company has vowed to never sell user photos.
It´s not unreasonable to expect Instagram to find a way to monetize their service. However, a combination of new ownership and the way they went about informing their users about their new and upcoming ads caused many users to dump the service. It´s yet to be seen if enough users left to cause a dent in Instagram´s subscriber base or if this faux pas will have any lasting effect on the photo-sharing company.