It’s been interesting lately with Instagram, right? It was barely six months ago that Facebook acquired Instagram, a phone-app that (at the time) had just added Android versions of their service along with the original, well-known iPhone offering. They were relatively quiet after the acquisition for a few months, up until now.
Last month, we received a component of the service we loved: account pages viewable via web browser. Until then, the app was strictly phone-only. Then last weekend, we learned the reason why Instagram was waiting to unveil more of their new developments.
Facebook/Instagram had been working behind the scenes to optimize…their potential cash-flow. They announced a new TOS that seemed to suggest that photos on the site could be sold by Instagram for commercial purposes. Widespread dissatisfaction ensured. Excerpts were posted on the service itself, on the usual tech outlets and have begun to make the rounds on popular blogs in our industry. Here are a few segments of the Instagram (should we call it Facetagram, or Instabook?) TOS users found most offensive include [paraphrased]:
As we all know, the backlash from that policy resulted in an apology to users and a change in the Pinterest terms of services. Recently they progressed on their path to monetization by introducing website verification and designated accounts for business users.
Facebook has a long history of peeling back the curtain on users’ privacy and addressing concerns afterward. It seems the publicly traded organization did not learn from the Pinterest TOS misstep. Instead of gradually adding in the monetization developments along with the enhancing the product for users, the company decided to follow their own development habits with their new acquisition.
This week’s Instagram melee has us all wondering one thing: where is Facebook going with this? Are they going to harvest the Instagram user base as it stands by pushing a full monetization agenda, or are they testing the waters, probing their user base for clues about how much privacy is acceptable to invade?
Tell us your predictions – we’re interested to know.