I love Instagram. Or at least I did, until today when the Facebook-owned visual life casting platform announced (rather misleadingly, at the back of their “preview” terms and conditions), that things are changing.
The things that are changing are, primarily, that from the 16th January 2013 Instagram will have the legal rights to your images, lock, stock and two smoking filters. They can sell them, profit from them, use them as their own global bank of imagery to license as they see fit, and we cannot do anything about it.
Other than delete our accounts, that is.
Why would you even hesitate to delete an account, then? Because, for many of us, Instagram has become as much a way of social media life as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Visual lifecasting has it’s own merits and it’s own community and associated culture; it’s not just about the lomo lense you know. We like to share things and comment on other people’s imagery; it is a well established community of users, particularly among the blogging, fashion, beauty and crafting set, and this blow has evoked a backlash from the grass roots users who feel, quite frankly, shafted by the big boys.
So, what to do?
You could delete your account to play safe. In this instance, Twitter’s well timed filters release may tempt you to use an existing social platform visually. Yes, I know it’s not the same but still…
Hipstamatic may suddenly become appealing again, as will other Insta-esque apps who aren’t likely to sell their soul down the $1 billion pound river anytime soon.
Failing that, you could hold fire and see what happens next; InstaBook/Facegram may still re-word their oh-so-intrusive t’s and c’s following the backlash, but hey, they are HUGE so it’s not a cert that they should listen to the little guys.
In playing safe you could limit what you take images of to anything non-personal. So, no pics of kids and family or nudey rudey shots in pants etc…you never know where they may end up.
I am going to play safe and see what rolls out from this. It is an interesting landmark in social media’s changing landscape, and yet another reminder that we are being watched more than we know.
What will you do?
UPDATE: 19th December 2012. Instagram say they are listening to user’s complaints and that they will update their t’s and c’s. Lets see!