Will they, won’t they – the week that could spell the end for Instagram


For a while, Instagram seemed untouchable to many. After seeing Jamie Oliver on stage at Le Web earlier this year, you couldn’t help but think they could do no wrong…

…until Zuck stumped up $1bn.

The past week will arguably be the one that will shape the future of the Facebook-owned company. Kevin Systrom and his team this week announced new Terms of Service. Hidden amongst the corporate jargon was the bombshell about user’s images and Instagram’s intention to:

• Share information about its users with Facebook, advertisers and other companies
• Use your photos and likeness for advertisements without your knowledge – including underage users
• Use your photos for ads which are not labelled ads


The new policy, which is looked set to come into effect on he 16th January 2013, does not give users the option to opt out of the conditions unless they abandon their accounts by that date.

Instagram argue the reasoning behind the move is to help tackle difficulty issues between itself and Facebook, claiming that “this means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used,” and that “nothing has changed about your photos’ ownership or who can see them.”

Yeah, right…cue the public backlash.

The story continues to unfold. No less that 24 hours later and with heavy criticism raining down, Instagram performed a total U-turn with Systrom stating “it is not our intention to sell users photos,” and that “legal documents are easily misinterpreted.”

Instagram’s blog post said clarifications would be made to stop confusion, covering such issues, which included:

• The company not planning to sell users photos
• The company not planning to make your photos part of advertisements
• The company not owning your content
• Users still having the ability to set their photos to private.

The company explained that the update to the advertising language was intended to fit with its advertising strategy going forward, which seems very much like Facebook’s targeted advertising approach.

It’ll be very interesting to see how many users have deleted their profiles. Only winners in this so far are Instagram’s competitors, with many queuing up to kick them while they’re down. One thing is for sure, this’ll be a defining moment for Systrom and his team. Stay tuned for more.

For expert opinion and commentary, check out David Meyer’s post for ZDnet.



We’re a savvy boutique team of brand and communication consultants working across consumer and B2B markets. We deliver strategic and creative PR campaigns that get our clients noticed no matter who they are – from start-ups to major global corporations.

Posted on December 20, 2012, in Facebook, mobile, tech and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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