Earlier this week, users of the social photo network Instagram were up in arms and then soothed, all in the span of days. The mobile-application company, which allows participants to share photos and recently launched an online interface, informed users that their photos may be used for advertising, but quickly changed their tune. However, despite backpedaling on their proposed service-terms changes, many users aren't convinced that something similar won't arise later, reports the New York Times, especially since Facebook purchased Instagram earlier this year.
Companies like Google, Twitter, Yelp and Facebook offer themselves as free services for users to store and share their most intimate pictures, secrets, messages and memories. But to flourish over the long term, they need to seek new ways to market the personal data they accumulate. They must constantly push the envelope, hoping users either do not notice or do not care.
So they sell ads against the content of an e-mail, as Google does, or transform a user's likes into commercial endorsements, as Facebook does, or sell photographs of your adorable 3-year-old, which is what Instagram was accused of planning this week.
"The reality is that companies have always had to make money," said Miriam H. Wugmeister, chair of Morrison Foerster's privacy and data security group.
Even as Instagram was pulling back on its changed terms of service on Thursday night, it made clear it was only regrouping. After all, Facebook, as a publicly held corporation, must answer to Wall Street's quarterly expectations.
Read more at the New York Times.