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Instagram-gate: What Happens Next?

by David Spring | 10.01.2013
Facebook Instagram Photo Sharing

A few days ago, my colleague Ben had mentioned in his blog post the controversy surrounding Instagram’s alleged plans to sell pictures uploaded by its users, for advertising purposes ( It is worth looking at how the aftermath of this incident could pan out. Conveniently, the Instagram backlash occurred at the end of 2012, therefore now is the perfect time for Facebook – which owns Instagram -, and indeed the entire social media world, to make their New Year resolutions for 2013, as regards to their policies.

Privacy is surely the most important issue in social media usage, and the latest Instagram storm has made it clear to social networks that, if personal information is to be arbitrarily used and shared with third parties, then users would rather disconnect than abide by that. This could be the year in which social networks will make an extra effort to be as transparent as possible with their users – by cutting back on wrong use of ‘language’ in their terms and conditions, which Facebook had publicly apologised for – and, at the same time, to ensure to offer them different options in usage, and respect their choices.

These recent events have also brought to light the seemingly obsessive desire for social networks to monetise – monetise users, monetise photos, monetise personal information, to maximise profits. Let us not forget that social networks thrive with the need for people to connect with each other. Technically, money should not come into the equation. In this sense, the reaction to Instagram’s new terms and conditions suggests that Facebook had gone too far with its monetisation strategies. Its employees ought to remember why people log on to Facebook in the first place: to socialise.