Instagram: 'Wait, Wait! That's Not What We Meant!'
from the responding-to-the-deluge dept
So, as the deluge of hate towards Instagram got louder and louder concerning its terms of service change, the company has now come out and said that it will change the terms and, of course, that it never meant them to be read the way people were interpreting them, and that it plans to adjust the terms so that people aren’t so damn angry at them. On the question of “advertising on Instagram” they note:
From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.
To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.
The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.
I’m sure this won’t mollify some, but it is more or less what we had assumed they were trying to do in the first place. The blog post similarly notes that they’re not claiming copyright on your images, nor are they mucking with your privacy settings.
In the end, we stand by our initial analysis: almost all of the complaints against Instagram’s new terms of service were quite similar to complaints made against other terms of service in the past few years when someone got around to reading the details, which are hard to understand because of the annoying legalese that the lawyers want you to put in. Instagram — and especially its new owners at Facebook — should have realized ahead of time what was about to happen. They could have cut off an awful lot of this mess if they had posted a similar blog post before the new terms were released, or with the new terms explaining what they were really trying to do and why. When you let people imagine the worst, they will do so.