Instagram has started whistling a different tune as of yesterday; after it became public knowledge that the photo sharing giant could potentially sell their users photos to advertisers without paying or notifying them.
The company has spent the better part of the last few days picking up the pieces from the online fallout. Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom was quick to release a blog post stating that users had misinterpreted Instagram’s revised terms of service. User’s photos will not be sold without the consent or without proper compensation to the user. Systrom went on to say:
“This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”
However, Instagram may display user’s profile photos and information about who they follow as part of an advertisement. This social marketing technique is similar to Facebook’s “sponsored stories” ads. Instagram will additionally avoid using uploaded photos as ads because the service wants to avoid advertising banners.
There is another smaller policy change that has been considered somewhat controversial and remains in place:
“You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”
In other words, Instagram may show you an ad and not tell you that you’re looking at one.
Most advertisements placed on social networking sites are clearly labelled if they are sponsored by a large company. The core reason for this proper labeling is to inform the user that this content was most likely created by a professional, it was not homemade, nor was it just a lucky shot that they caught. Somebody took the time to compose the image, chose the coloring to evoke whatever feeling will make you more likely to consume their product.
What if you could not differentiate between an ad, and the content you love? Would it make a difference if it was exactly what you were looking for?