Insta-results with Instagram

Instagram, the insanely popular photo sharing app, released on January 16 some radical changes to their Terms of Service that shocked the majority of their users. If you haven’t been keeping tabs on the latest updates in the social media industry, then you’re missing out on a lot of things that can potentially affect the way you share pictures on the app.

Here’s the main gist of the story:

  1. Facebook, which acquired Instagram in April 2012, has rights to use public Instagram pics in whatever way they please- they can sell it to other companies or use it for advertising.
  2. Users will not be notified when their pictures will be featured in the ads.
  3. Businesses have no responsibility to compensate you even if they used your Instagram pics in their ads.
  4. Even if you decide to delete your account- all pics that were uploaded after January 16 will still remain as the property of Facebook and Instagram.

Does This Mean That Permission or Opt-In Marketing Is Dead?

Permission marketing is a marketing concept popularized by online business guru Seth Godin in 1999. It’s a marketing tactic that lets people “opt-in” or subscribe to promotional messages and advertisements from companies that they trust. At a time when sending random people newsletters and other commercial messages without their permission was the norm, this concept came like a breath of fresh air to annoyed consumers. Soon enough, laws were made to further protect consumers’ rights. The CAN-SPAM Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive in the UK made it mandatory for businesses to use the opt-in model for all their online marketing campaigns.

To date, most social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are opt-in. But this trend seems to be slowly losing ground as time goes by.

Don’t Want Your Picture Placed In Our Ads? Sign Up First

Klout is a social network that used the controversial opt-out model for their advertisements. If your Twitter account is set to Public, then there’s a huge chance that you already have a Klout profile waiting for you. This account can be used for commercial promotions and advertisements by Klout’s business partners. Want nothing of it? Too bad, you have to sign up first before you can even delete your account.

But still, Klout remains a popular service that is used by lots of people all over the globe. Can they be a valid example for the viability of the opt-out model?

The Future Of Instagram

Instagram’s new Terms of Service also poses a lot other problems that are not apparent at first reading. For example, can the people featured in your photos contest their right not to be featured in any ads? Since YOU own the photo, they would probably have no say in the matter even if they strongly disapprove of the ads they are featured in.

So, what does this mean for Instagram? While a lot of people have already deleted their accounts when the news was released (based on the rants on Facebook and Twitter), people still keep on signing up. Is this the future of social media? We’ll never know.

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