Instagram's About Face

“To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos,” Instagram founder Kevin Systrom wrote on the company’s blog Wednesday. “We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

Well that took long. Less than a day after Insta-Gate 2012 began, the photo-sharing company did an about face. Users were inflamed at Instagram’s updated terms of use that seemed to allow the company to sell users photos to advertisers with not notification or compensation to the user.

We’re not sure if this was an honest misinterpretation as Systrom would like you to think or if they were trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Regardless of their aim this is just the beginning…

Facebook’s IPO changed the game. Investors don’t care how many users, likes, posts or photos you have. They want dollars. And right now the only way to monetize social media is by selling its massive data deposits to advertisers.

In his op-ed, CNN columnist Douglas Rushkoff makes the crucial point: “Let's hope these early experiences of investing in free stuff only to learn the true cost will make us more ready to think twice about when and how we wish to participate. For if we're not paying in money, we'll end up paying with something else.”

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