Did I write my "Facebook is Evil!" rant yet? Maybe I've just been thinking this for the past few years, but Facebook is Evil, I tell ya. Evil!
And they've tainted my Instagram. *pouts* I cried the day they were bought; I just knew Facebook would do something to stop my pic-sharing enjoyment.
No one puts Instagram in a corner!
Okay, so I'm a bit wacky over this whole thing, simply because I don't want to let go of my Instagram account. I don't want the people I follow to jump ship either. I love how it all is right this moment, but I don't know how I could simply accept and move on from here.
I don't think I can. It's been a long time since I've had to break-up with something, I'm a bit rusty, but it needs to be done.
I'm a huge supporter of change. I LOVE change. Heck, a lot of this blog is based on change.
But, falling on the heels of the Twitter/Instagram feud (have you recently noticed that you can't see Instagram pics directly in your Twitter feed anymore?), the Facebook backed peeps have wrote a new TOS (effective starting January 16, 2013) for Instagram, and its gone just a little too far.
And now we gotta ask...
I don't want to be that crazy blogger running around yelling about the sky falling. Or coyotes. But this new TOS has a lot to answer for.
Yes, with the old TOS, there were similar stipulations to Facebook's and Pinterest's fine print, stating that any image we post, they could use for their own purposes. Maybe it's a sign of the times, but I was okay with these corporations owning my photos. I haven't posted anything online that I would desperately want to keep as my own. Even ten years ago I had my work stolen online from a portfolio website that I had created in college. Anyone remember the days of hotlinking? It was the easiest way to hunt down the people who pilfered my graphic design work. But bottom line, I'm used to not having full control of my work.
And yes, I do see the irony of posting pics that are obviously owned by WB, but I'm not claiming those stills are mine... and I'm digressing here, oops.
There is one particularly damning bit in the TOS that I'm concerned about. So much so, that I'm honestly thinking about removing my account, and I'll have tears to shed if I do.
[box type="warning"] Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.[/box]
This? This means that Instagram wants to pimp you out. As I mentioned to a number of friends on Facebook (yes, I do use this evil still):
Not only can Instagram just sell your photo (which there's a big difference between Instagram using a photo for *their* advertisement, and selling it to a third party for third party advertising), they can sell you. You and your profile. This might be a bit extreme, but the terms are broad enough that because I have an image of a rice crispie treat on my instagram right now, I could walk downtown one day and find that image, my username and my profile photo on a Kellogg's billboard ad to sell rice crispies, without any prior warning nor royalties from it.
Others could profit from the hours I slaved to figure out how to create these treats:
In fact, the "associated metadata" bit could possibly mean that if you ♥ a photo, the advertisers could potentially state on any form of advertising: "@AerynLynne ♥'s this photo", or "900 people on instagram ♥ this!" The concern is exactly what is it that's being hearted in that stat? If an Instagram friend of mine showed a pic of them and their loved one enjoying a dinner out on the town, and a can of Pepsi just happens to be on the table? This Coke fan could potentially be advocating for you to drink Pepsi.
Moral of the story? Don't drink Pepsi. *Yuck!* 😉
Does this all sound a bit extreme? Yes, yes it does. Truth of the matter is, you could use Instagram for the next ten years and not have a single photo bought by a third party for use. It's a numbers game really, the probability of how likely would it be for one of your images to be used in advertising, but do you want that unknowing feeling of whether an advertiser in Italy is currently advertising their scrumptious pizza with a pic of you and/or your kids enjoying a slice on Instagram? This is a global issue, and I'm not into playing "What if?" each time I think about posting a picture that I want to share with you.
And my ultimate question is: how much are you and your pictures worth? How much is YOUR worth to advertisers that want to use the photos that YOU took, but will pay INSTAGRAM to get.
So, if you've made up your mind and have decided to bail, you may be thinking...
- How can you back up all of those loved photos from Instagram?
I'm sure there are a number of services, but one that I keep hearing about and that seems easy enough is Instaport.
- How can you delete your account?
You can request for your account to be removed, this is a permanent action though. Once you lose everything to do with your Instagram account... well, you lose everything.
- What alternatives do we have if we're no long using Instagram?
Depending on what smartphone platform you're using, there are a number of alternatives... unfortunately, they don't all work the same way. I'm truly looking forward to when Flickr updates their Android app to be similar to Apple's. When/if that happens, Flickr would be my first choice to "switch" to. In truth, I've used Flickr for years, but found it to be falling to the wayside as an interesting place to post pics. Perhaps Flickr will find a renewed user experience now that their biggest competitor is disappearing.Starmaticis a similar app, available only to Apple users (just like how Instagram started.)Google+ has purchased SnapSeed, much in the same way that Facebook purchased Instagram, so we could see an improved Android-able photo sharing service (that will improve your SEO if you use these services as a tool for a biz/blog.)
The really sad part? Facebook is already a photo sharing service, so part of me can't help but wonder if they did this on purpose to "kill" a competitor. Was $1 Billion worth it?
EDIT: Instagram has recently published this in response to all the flack they've received from mainstream media. Apparently none of us can read properly. *eye roll* Bottom line though is that we can use Instagram again without wondering if their sales team sold our beautiful landscape pictures to a tourism board. 😉