Instagram unleashes a thousand words
It’s a fast-moving story—something may have already changed by the time you read this. The changes don’t take effect until January 16, and they are not retroactive: Everything you share on Instagram until that date is exempt from the new policy. But the terms as originally described—and not yet retracted—were pretty expansive. They spoke of revenue and ads that may not look like ads. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what that might allow the company to do. Saying you don’t “intend” to do anything means nothing. It is what politicians say when they intend to do the opposite but can’t yet go public. Instagram deserves to make money. It should be lauded for thinking outside the box. And nobody has figured out the perfect way to subsidise mobile sharing services. But like Netflix did with its disastrous Qwikster idea, Instagram needs to reverse course quickly and think about what it has done. A face-saving way out comes in a careful reading of what the digerati have made into a cause célèbre. It’s a matter of respect toward the people who actually made the service successful by sharing in such huge numbers.
Wired’s Mat Honan has left the service, but he’s willing to go back “if it does walk its terms back significantly and permanently.” His biggest beef was how cavalierly the service acted—“without offering any other
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