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Instagram's Policy Shift As Predictable As Facebook's Privacy Flip Flops.

Dec 18 2012

Katherine Hepburn:The Luxe Chronicles


Anyone who thought that Facebook could purchase Instagram for a reported sum just south of one billion USD and go on using the app as though nothing had changed are now awaking to the cold, harsh reality of the Internet: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Ever.

In a somewhat predictable move, Instagram announced yesterday a sweeping shift in policy according to which it claims the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment, notification or possibility to opt-out. Any user who continues to upload content to the platform once the new Terms of Use policy come into effect on January 16, 2013 will be deemed to have consented.

I deleted my Instagram account shortly after the start-up was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for reasons linked to Facebook's data collection practices, disregard for users' privacy rights and overall lack of transparency. My reasoning at the time was that Facebook didn't pay a huge premium for Instagram's acquisition to merely let it go on as is. I felt it was just a matter of time before Instagram would be brought into the Facebook fold in terms of policy and revenue-generating practices. It may be cold comfort to users but at least Instagram is being transparent about its intentions which is far more than we can say about Facebook's conduct to date.

Instagram's policy shift has significant implications for individual consumers and brands alike. Were I advising a brand, my advice would be delete your Instagram account before January 16, 2013 lest you find yourself paying for the privilege of using the images you yourself uploaded. How about that?!


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Simply put, I don't think Instagram will stop here. If FB's behaviour regarding data collection and data usage is any indication, this move is just the start.


Why would you pay to use your own photos? It says Instagram does not claim ownership [...] and requires you to grant a non-exclusive license?

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The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.

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