Instabackfire »

Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:

That’s advertising on your photos, in case it wasn’t clear. Whatever kind of victory all those protests achieved, it wasn’t one for consumer rights — if anything, Instagram is the real winner here. The company just managed to score a round of positive press for retracting an unpopular change and give itself the ability to actually use photos in ads.

Worst of all, the Instagram debacle is destined to be discussed in boardrooms and business schools for years to come as an object lesson in keeping terms of service vague and hard to understand. Had Instagram just left its existing terms in place, the company would have been totally fine — that agreement was broad enough to let Instagram do virtually anything with user photos, and pursue any business plan it desired. Seriously: the old terms allow Instagram to “use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate” your photos and distribute them “in any media formats through any media channels.” The new terms pulled that back to just “use” and “display” — and there was a panic over “display.” Why?

Not sure I totally agree with Patel, but I’m not a lawyer. I’ll be interested to see how this turns out. Based on Facebook’s prior actions, I don’t think it will end well.