Facebook may have quelled a full-scale rebellion by quickly dumping the
But even as the social network furiously backpedaled, some users said
Friday they were carrying through on plans to leave.
Ryan Cox, a
29-year-old management consultant at ExactTarget, an Indianapolis-based
interactive marketing software company, said he had already moved his
photos to Flickr, Yahoo's photo-sharing app, where he could have better
Mr. Cox said the uproar this week over whether Instagram owned its users' photos was "a wake-up call."
my fault," he continued. "I'm smart enough to know what Instagram had
and what they could do especially the minute Facebook acquired them but I
was a victim of naive optimism."
"Naive optimism" is as good a term as any for the emotion that people feel as they put their private lives onto social networks.
like Google, Twitter, Yelp and Facebook offer themselves as free
services for users to store and share their most intimate pictures,
secrets, messages and memories. But to flourish over the long term, they
need to seek new ways to market the personal data they accumulate. They
must constantly push the envelope, hoping users either do not notice or
do not care.
So they sell ads against the content of an e-mail,
as Google does, or transform a user's likes into commercial
endorsements, as Facebook does, or sell photographs of your adorable
3-year-old, which is what Instagram was accused of planning this week.
reality is that companies have always had to make money," said Miriam
H. Wugmeister, chair of Morrison Foerster's privacy and data security
Even as Instagram was pulling back on its changed terms of
service on Thursday night, it made clear it was only regrouping. After
all, Facebook, as a publicly held corporation, must answer to Wall
Street's quarterly expectations.
"We are going to take the time to
complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we
would like for our advertising business to work," Kevin Systrom,
Instagram's youthful co-founder, wrote on the company's blog.
actions angered many users who were already incensed over the company's
decision earlier this month to cut off its integration with Twitter, a
Facebook rival, making it harder for its users to share their Instagram
photos on Twitter.
Users were apprehensive that the new terms of
service meant that data on their favorite things would be shared with
Facebook and its advertisers. Users also worried that their photos would
Instagram is barely two years old but has 100
million users. Last spring, Facebook announced plans to buy it in a
deal that was initially valued at $1 billion. The deal was closed in
September for a somewhat smaller amount.
For some users, Mr.
Systrom's apology and declaration that "Instagram has no intention of
selling your photos, and we never did" was sufficient.
Geographic, which suspended its account in the middle of the uproar,
held a conference call with members of Facebook's legal and policy
teams. Afterward, the magazine, which has 658,000 Instagram followers,
said it would resurrect its account.
Also mollified was Noah
Kalina, who took wedding photographs earlier this year for Mark
Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. In a widely circulated post on
Twitter, Mr. Kalina said the new terms of service were "a contract no
professional or nonprofessional should ever sign." His advice: "Walk
On Friday, the photographer said he had walked back. "It's nice to know they listened."
Kardashian, the most followed person on Instagram, said on Tuesday that
she "really loved" the service - note the past tense - and that the new
rules were not "fair." She had yet to update her 17 million Twitter
followers on Friday, but since she is pushing her True Reflection
fragrance it is a safe bet that she has forgiven and forgotten.
Benson, a creative director at a Philadelphia advertising service, was
less conciliatory. He said it was not the fact that Instagram needed to
monetize the service that bothered him, but the way it had done so.
was a social, creative tool," he said. "But now that Facebook is
involved, it felt reckless to suggest that they could sell user-created
content for their own financial gain."
Mr. Benson added "The best
advertising in the social media realm is a conversation - it's not a
monologue to the consumer. And that is what this felt like. 'Oh, we're
going to let you use this tool, then take everything and sell it.' "
Cox had similar feelings. As the guardian for his 4- and 8-year-old
nephews, he said he used the service to upload pictures of the boys and
enjoyed the feedback of the "likes" he got through the service.
the idea that a year from now a Disney ad could pop up on my friend's
Facebook page featuring a picture of my nephew feels like a bad TNT
daytime movie," he said. "I want to be able to control what is out
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said on Friday that
longer "directly promises that private photos will remain private," it
noted on its site. "Instead, your privacy on Instagram is subject to
future changes in the privacy settings options."
brouhahas that Facebook has been involved in, the foundation noted, have
involved attempts to adjust settings "in ways that meant your ability
to keep some information private was no longer available." Facebook is
operating under a consent decree with regulators.
Instagram declined to say Friday how many people were quitting the
service despite the policy reversal. They took a common approach of
Internet companies after a scrap with their users: pretend nothing
happened and move on. Instagram's blog featured a post about how it now
was available in 25 languages. Mr. Zuckerberg has not posted on his
Facebook page since Tuesday.
© 2012, The New York Times News Service