I’ve just read a piece of news online that has made me both furious and extremely sad. I bet a lot of you know what I’m talking about.
The new owners of Instagram, the mighty Facebook, have announced that as of the 16th January 2013, they have the rights to sell any of your photos for use in advertising. And they don’t have to pay you. In fact, they don’t even have to tell you.
There is no option to opt out or adjust your privacy settings.
So if you don’t fancy giving Facebook free reign over your images, it seems your only option is to delete your Instagram account. But you’d better do it before the 16th January, because if you miss the deadline, Facebook still have the right to sell your pictures in perpetuity. Kind of them, eh?
Anyone familiar with my blog will know just how much this pains me. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m addicted to Instagram. I’ve written blog posts about my vintage photo passion and I’ve even got an Instagram gallery coded into my blog.
Possibly not for much longer.
Much as I hate to admit it, my initial reaction is to delete my account. Sure, advertisers are unlikely to be lining up to buy my photographs of our back garden or abstracts of the living room carpet. Among the millions of other photos flooding the network, what makes mine so special?
But, in one swift action, Facebook have realised the fears a lot of users had when they first heard that the social media giant was planning to take over their favourite network. Instagram was so popular because it allowed its users to be creative and cool and retro, no matter how strong their photography skills. It was a network for sharing the cute details of your life, without worrying about advertising or boring statuses. Posting a photo and watching as heart icons pop up on your screen is a lovely feeling, a validation that yes, you, with all your clumsy camera skills, can capture a striking and creative image.
Sure, the downside of Instagram is the rise of Twitter-esque spammers who want to sell you the idea that you can make money on social media. For all the times I’ve moaned about them, I’d gladly take the spambots over the new draconian terms of service that promise to turn Instagram into just another stock photo service where the advertisers can jump on the cool kids bandwagon, plundering their accounts without so much as a thank you.
So, whilst I mourn the demise of my beloved Instagram account, I’ve been hunting out some alternative options.
Why not try:
Hipstamatic – similar to Instagram, you can create beautiful, retro photos with a selection of filters, simulated lens options and flashes and share them on your social networks.
Camera Awesome – a free, non-social app with a good range of filters and effects to pretty up your photographs.
Pixlr-o-matic – a huge number of effects and filters are available on this free Android app, many more than Instagram offer. Your photos are saved back to your phone and you can then post them to your social accounts, a positive for anyone who doesn’t want to hook their photos up automatically to their Facebook account.
And of course, don’t forget good ol’ Photoshop, which now has an app that you can download for free. A lot of the premium effects will cost you extra, but you can still create vintage-feel images with ease. I generally run all my photos through the Photoshop app before they even get anywhere near Instagram.
So, the question is, will the new terms of service be the death of Instagram?
And yes, all the images in this post belong to me.