The recent changes made to Instagram’s terms of service in mid-December resulted in a huge public reaction against the photo-sharing service, hosting more than 4 billion pictures users have uploaded for free, which Facebook acquired for $ 1 billion early this year. As Instagram apologized for the misunderstanding, the company tried to clarify that it has no intentions to incorporate users’ photos into advertisements without their permission. Zintro experts share their views on Instagram’s new approach and how users will respond to changes in privacy policies.
Wilburn T. Boykin Jr, an expert in business consulting and international marketing, believes that there was a conflict between Instagram’s internal channels and customer expectations. “It would appear to me that this is once again a simple case of internal channels of an organization creating external headaches and questions for their customer base. I’m sure there was some reason internally why this was thought to be a good idea, but internal channels should never create a barrier for the customer,” he notes. “Your internal deliberations should never see the light of day as far as the customer is concerned. In this case it did and they are paying the price.”
As business development and branding expert, Khalid Muhammad indicates, the situation, which Instagram is currently dealing with, is no different than the reaction Facebook had, when it declared that the company was going to sell users’ pictures. “We actually saw Facebook do the same thing a few months prior to their IPO, when looking to create new revenue streams to justify their valuation,” explains Muhammad. “Facebook announced that they were going to sell user photos from their site and met with a very strong reaction from their user base with many people downloading their images and deleting their accounts.” Moreover, Muhammad thinks that the world of social media is testing what the limits are that users are willing to accept for a free service. “Interestingly, it comes only months after Facebook bought the company for US$ 1 billion. It seems to me that these are only the first steps before announcing a “paid-usage” plan that opts users out of these revenue generation schemes,” adds Muhammad. “Whereas the free user will still be governed by the basic terms and conditions of the platform.”
By Idil Kan
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