It’s been a few weeks now since the online world was incensed by Instagram’s decision to update their terms of service and claim the right to sell users’ photos without their permission.
After the initial furore, Instagram quickly backtracked and declared that they never actually had any plans to sell off your pictures. The fuss died down and most people chose not to delete their much loved accounts.
But as the deadline for the new terms looms closer, I thought it would be the perfect time to look at the issue once again.
According to Digital Spy, Instagram daily user figures are down a massive 50% on what they were on December 17th. It’s hard to see how this decline isn’t connected to the drama over the new terms of service. As regular readers will know, I’m a huge lover of Instagram and enjoy taking pictures of random crap and filtering them up to vintage prettiness. I used to flick through Instagram every day admiring the stunning photos and checking my own likes. But since December, I’ve only bothered to log in a couple of times.
Sure, a lot of people are going to hang on to their accounts after threatening to delete them, but it looks like the damage to Instagram’s brand has been done.
The new terms of service actually bring Instagram in line with Facebook, whose stringent terms most casual users are probably unaware or unconcerned with.
And even though Instagram’s terms have been updated, they still include the following:
“By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.”
So Instagram still claim some wide-ranging rights to your images. Whilst it sounds scary, like Facebook, Instagram need to use language like this so they don’t fall foul of the copyright laws whenever they resize your images or store copies on their servers. Plus they claim rights that they won’t necessarily use so that they are covered for any future service updates.
So, are you going to stick with your Instagram account?
I’m planning to keep mine, although I’ve been exploring some of the other options that are out there, including Flickr’s new app, which a lot of users are heralding as the resurrection of the ailing network.
The Instagram community still exists, even if a lot of the love has waned. Now is the time for the brand to carefully consider how they embrace the future, especially the implementation of their advertising strategy, if they want their users to fall in love all over again and prove that this was never just a fad.