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On a day with no technology news, Instagram has given tech bloggers an opportunity to weigh in on a change to its terms of service.And boy have they.
The general gist of the blog posts is something like, This is a nontroversy and people aren’t going to quit Instagram.
And this is true! People aren’t going to quit Instagram*. But that doesn’t mean that people are wrong to be upset by what Instagram did.
If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid the controversy, here it is in a nutshell: Instagram might use your photos for advertisers. People are annoyed that Instagram is going to take their photos and turn them into ads. It feels icky.
The thing is, it’s probably not as icky as people think. And it’s not drastically different from what Facebook does with its ads.
But, because Instagram decided to surreptitiously stick this disclosure in its terms of service, here we are.
This is the problem with big ad supported tech companies. They’re not terribly empathetic. They don’t understand that users can be upset, even if it does seem somewhat silly that users get upset.
Instagram should have given its users the respect they deserve and written a clearly worded blog post explaining exactly what it’s doing.
It could have said something like, “We are trying to build a sustainable business. As such, we are looking at a variety of business models. One of the most obvious models is advertising. To do advertising we may occasionally use your photos to promote a product.”
If it was feeling extra generous it could offer the option to opt out knowing full well that most people won’t opt out.
And after posting this, it should have talked to the press to explain exactly what was happening so we could all understand.
Instead of doing this, Instagram did nothing. And thus we have today’s hornet’s nest.
We reached out to Instagram for a comment and heard nothing. But, in the middle of this post, Instagram tweeted that it will has something to say shortly.
*Well, some people might quit.