Putting Instagram Under The Microscope

By Dream Local Digital | Dec 21, 2012

Instagram has recently found itself under much scrutiny by its users and the press.

Strike One: Instagram no longer allows its images to appear on Twitter.

Strike Two: Instagram develops a new privacy policy and Terms of Service are updated, which include language that quickly angers users - “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.”

Strike Three: Instagram founder, Kevin Systrom, addresses Instagram users through a blog post, backtracking by remarking, “Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean,” and “As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.”  No true apology was written, and many felt the post was condescending.

Three strikes.  You’re out?

Not yet, but Instagram is certainly not in the clear.  Many users continue to grumble about the drama that has unfolded recently.  Why can’t we see our Instagram images on Twitter?  What was with the shady wording in the privacy policy?  Why did it take so long for the wording to be revised?  The Proprietary Rights in Content on Instagram section of its Terms of Use now reads, “Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, ‘Content’) that you post on or through the Instagram Services.”

According to the Mashable article, “5 Lessons From the Instagram Debacle” written by Chris Taylor, National Geographic announced that their Instagram account would “be going dark.”  With approximately 650,000 followers on Instagram, National Geographic should be considered one of Instagram’s power users.  Yet Instagram does not appear to be doing anything to repair this relationship.  In fact, Instagram has done very little to repair its relationship with any of its users.

Positive relationships with users are significant for all areas of business, including social media sites.  Admitting that one is wrong and working to smooth out relationships with major players is important to maintain a positive influence.  It appears that Instagram still has a lot to learn before it can successfully participate in the big leagues.

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