Many may think, what's the big deal? So they own my photos. Aren't they free for all to see anyway?
Though this may be true, after a closer look at these updated terms, I for one am very concerned about the privacy and security of those using the service. As such I've written a little break down for you of Instagram's 5 point plan for world domination as well as a short tutorial, showing you how to download your photos from Instagram, delete your Instagram account and get back to being King of your digital castle, no longer ruled by the evil dragon Instagram and its advertising minions, the largest of which is Facebook.
Up until this week, I would have said I was a huge fan of Instagram as are countless other. The digital photo sharing application has enjoyed huge popularity within the online community as one which allows users to "artfully mix precise capture with our perceptions."
As econsultancy.com so artfully put it a few months back,
"Instagram opens up the possibility for expressive impressionism, through which we can better share what we saw in the way we saw it. Strict, photorealistic literalism can show us the materiality of what was happening in a shot, but what Instagram and other photographic tools can accomplish is to silently convey the emotional narration of the photographer."
These words ring true as in the short span of 2 years, Instagram has racked up over 100 million users when last recorded by Mashable in September, with over 4 billion photos uploaded.
To be honest, I don't think there is a day that goes by that my life isn't touched by Instagram in one way or the other, as every major social network, including Twitter and Facebook are certainly inundated with the mark of this photographic beast.
Stated simply, here is what the new terms mean for you, the Instagram User.
Smile! Your Face Belongs to Instagram Now!
According to a section of the new Terms of Agreement labeled "Rights," if you agree to the new terms, you now hand Instagram the right to use your photographs and identity in advertisements. What's worse, is while these marketing madmen may make a killing off of a picture posted from you birthday party last summer, and your face may find itself plastered in a million flattering or unflattering locations, you unfortunately will never see a dime of compensation for it! Not sure about you, but this kinda rings of slavery. Of course agreement isn't mandatory, but still, something about it seems, well, just a little unhanded to me. To understand the full implications of this new change, take a look at the precise wording from the "Rights" section itself:
"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."
Consider Yourself Pawned: Facebook and Other Marketers Now Have the Power to Push Your Buttons and Control Your Impulses.
That's right; Instagram can now share information about its users with any number of parenting companies including marketing nightmares like Facebook as well as other affiliates and advertisers. According to Instagram, this change is meant to help functionality between Instagram and Facebook function more easily, but I'm not convinced. Sounds like a really clever way to own those who are hooked on convenience for its own personal money making purposes. With these new changes in place, Facebook's ad network will have access to data and information you may have casually share on Instagram, giving the intrusive marketing machine insights to all of your favorite guilty pleasures like places you like to eat, what you do for fun, you're your favorite kinds of music. How much easier then is it for them to play to our carnal desires, offering us more eye candy than we may be able to afford or resist.
No Respect for Age, Putting Youth at Risk
Now this is the one that really gets me fired up. Although Instagram claims people using their service must 13 years old to use, which in my opinion is still way too young under these new conditions, they say that in signing up, the teenager is affirming that their parents or guardians know they own the account and are totally cool with the username and photos being used in ads. Considering the fact teenagers are quite a volatile group, one which is most prone to allow breeches of personal security, this to me, is quite frightening. Plus, how will they verify a parent has in fact confirmed? I can only just imagine what a Pandora's Box this one could open...
Ads Don't Have To Be Labeled Ads, Taking Your Friends Hostage
"You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content or commercial communications as such,"
Now for those of you scratching your head about the implications, what this means to me is downright deception for the purpose of selling products. It says to me, these companies may now start sending messages to your friend on Facebook, guised as recommendation from you, to allow them to perhaps make a buck off of your good natured pal who trusts your judgment-even if it's a judgment you didn't actually give! Studies show that these days, people see little value in advertising but rather value the options and references of friends and trusted advisors. What better way to convince your pals that some a product is worth owning then to pimp you out as the bait?
So if you are now as uptight as I about Instagram's diabolical plan for you and your friends, there is some good news. You can opt out and not lose all your photos!
How to Download Your Photos From Instagram and Delete Your Instagram Account
1. First, download all of your photos. Instaport is a great application for downloading your Instagram photo library and it works really quickly. The photos will be downloaded in zip format. There are rumors however that the option to directly export them to Flickr and Facebook will soon be available.
2. Upload photos to new photo service if you like. Wired.com reports there are some new Flickr applications which may work.
3. Once all personal possessions -i.e. photos-are removed, all that's left to do is delete your account.
4. Keep in mind however once you delete your account, its gone and Instagram cannot reactivate it. The user name will also no longer be accessible to you.