19 December 2012

Changes to instagram

This is a long post with a lot of thoughts in it. I suggest grabbing a cup of tea before you start reading. You have been warned! 

After posting my instagram photos the other day a few of you asked about the changing policy for instagram. 

Here is a bit of background for those of you who don't know. Feel free to skip straight on past if you do!

In a nutshell it has caused mayhem in the internet world because instagram stated that they effectively had a right to sell users photos to advertising companies without royalties or user consent. 

Within the last day Instagram have issued a form of apology stating that they would never intend to sell users photos and that the terms of use were easily misinterpreted. The claim that what they were trying to do was avoid traditional banner advertising on the app and instead connect users with "meaningful advertising" by using their  profile details. 

Now this is NOT official. The above is my interpretation of the media and the official instagram blog

I am in two minds about this change in policy. 

At first I was angry. I was angry that pictures I posted could be used without my consent, I was angry that something simple and good like photo sharing was turning commercial and I was scared for my privacy. 

It raised real questions in me why a picture taken with my SLR, used without my consent was stealing but a photo I shared online and had taken with my phone wasn't. I was just confused over this. I mean we all blog, we all share photos and we all trust that they won't be taken. How different is this to sharing on the app? 

Now after reading the small print I am slightly calmer! Instagram has stated that it will remove any language within the policy that claims that they could sell your photos to advertisers and makes a point that if you are a private user only those who follow you can see your photos. 

They are however still sketchy over what form the advertising will take. I think I am satisfied that they won't use my pictures in adverts without my consent however I am uncertain as to whether instagram will use my photos to connect me to other things. 

If I'm honest I don't know how I feel about this. Instagram is a social sharing app. I knew that when I signed up. Therefore there has always been a degree of caution in me over what I post and what I keep private. In a way it is like facebook. We know that facebook can access our details and that is why we never reveal too much. That said I think photos can reveal far more than words can. 

It worries me that I will have to really think about what I post on instagram now. It worries me that every time I use this app there is a twinge of uncertainty about where that picture will go and what it could show about me. 

Where to go from here? 

I have been thinking about this a lot. I love the idea of instagram. I love that it has made me focus on everyday things. I love how I can be more creative, I love that it has changed the way I look at mobile photography. Don't get me wrong this app has a whole heap of good about it. 

I won't be deleting my instagram account BUT I will be checking regularly for more updates from instagram over how my photos might be used. 

In my opinion I am buying into social networking and that comes with a lot of good but also a heavy weight. We need to be careful. We need to think with each photo about whether this will jeopardise our safety. In the same way we do with blogging we need to be careful. 

I am staying private. At first I went private because I was getting spammed, now instagram have made a point of saying that if you are private only your followers can see your photos. This has to be good folks. I know it isn't as sociable BUT if it keeps me safer I am all for it! 

In short I am hanging on in there. Until we get more information. I will keep posting photos. I will keep exercising caution. I will stay private.

What do you think? Feel free to raise questions or opinions in the comments or drop me an email. 

I found these sites very helpful...Instagram blog, cnet, Daily telegraph, Huffington post


debs14 said...

I share your dilemma, the whole thing about social networking is the social aspect of it, but we do have to be aware that once posted out on the internet we do not have complete control over what we have posted. I try to keep a balanced view on it, I would never post something that I wanted to keep private and am a little wary of posting anything that includes others in Facebook etc. On the other side of it, when I am searching for images to add to the school newsletter, I am always concerned that I may inadvertently copy something that is someone's private work. Sometimes it's not easy to find out if something is copywrited.
A thought provoking post Abi!

JO SOWERBY said...

This is really well thought out Abi. I don't use Instagram personally because of a glitch with my phone so don't have the same issues many people who do have. I do feel that we all share ourselves on the Internet through facebook and blogs but I feel even then no-one has the right to come in, take your picture and post it without naming u as the source, just seems manners to me and no self-loving photographer worth his salt would be happy with it either, professional ones I mean.
I feel that discussion is important and the people behind Instagram need to take note.
PS thanx for ur lovely card, I'm late as I've been ill but a package should be on it's way to you soon,
Lots of love Jo xxxx

Maria Ontiveros said...

I guess I have very little expectation of privacy and act accordingly. I expect that anything I post on my blog or to instagram or facebook is out there for the entire world to see, and I guess I don't worry that much about it. Perhaps because as a professor, I am a very public person to begin with and people can access a lot about me through my University, I have never worried too much about it. I hope I'm not too trusting about the world. But that's my take.
On the other hand, I don't think anyone else should be able to sell and profit from my work (wherever it is posted).

Abi said...

I like this point Rinda and in part I feel the same way. I know that posting on the internet is open to everyone. That comes with territory I guess!

alexa said...

You've clearly given it a lot of thought, Abi. I'm not an Instagram user but their apparent backtracking seemed to me interesting - I do not see how what they put out originally could be interpreted in any way other than the way it was. I'm not impressed by their verbal sleight of hand, and instinctively distrust the lot of them. Perhaps I am unfair. Caution sounds like a good direction of travel.

scrappyjacky said...

I don't use Instagram myself.....but tend to agree with Rinda.....I don't expect anything I put on the net to be 'private'.....it's just not going to happen....but selling someone's photos is another matter entirely.....and completely unacceptable....and I think they may have got that message loud and clear!!!
And many thanks for the lovely card I received today.