Every so often users of social media will get one of those dreaded Privacy Statement updates informing them on changes to their social media platforms. Once again, “privacy” on social media is now being tested with the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook. In true Zuckerberg style, the social media tycoon immediately began to hit its users with changes to the application. Although it was announced last April that Facebook was acquiring Instagram, many people were unaware of some of the proposed changes. Unless you are a bonified techie you were probably unaware of its plans to unlink Twitter to Instagram, or its plan to sell your photos without your consent. Well, yesterday mainstream users were made aware of the plan to sell users’ photos without prior consent or compensation. In the spirit of American decision making, ‘We the People’ were outraged! The internet immediately began buzzing with people vowing to delete their Instagram accounts and boycott the company. A Tweet by CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper was retweeted over 5,000 times when he expressed his concern for having his photos shared without his consent.
Since then, Instagram has changed its tune, and decided to “review” their proposed privacy policies that originally caused such a stir. People essentially felt very violated and extremely used that the Big Boys of social media are using them to become even more rich.
If this isn’t a lesson in customer service, then I don’t know what is. The bottom line for any business is that you have to keep your customer happy no matter how large or small your business. Customers are what feed your business and allow you to operate and expand your services. The large amount of celebrity feedback puts Instagram in danger of losing one of its largest marketing bases. Social media is driven by the rich and famous, and people who want to emulate them. If this very large segment of the internet population stops engaging, then there is no longer a use for the product. While the original purpose of Instagram’s new photo sharing policies was an interest in what you are sharing, and not who is sharing, the end result was a million users who expressed outraged about their privacy rights. When you start throwing around legal terms and big words people feel violated. The beauty of Instagram is that people feel as if they are in control of what they put out into the universe. They find pleasure in sharing their moments with others, and even showing off their amateur photography skills. Instagram claims they simply wanted to be able to share important photos more freely, such as the photo taken during hurricane Sandy which graced the cover of Time magazine. However, the monetary impact on its new owners cannot be overlooked. They want to prove to Zuckerberg that they were worth the acquisition. Social Media allows anyone to instantly become the author of their own fate. Users can create content and instantly share with the world, in hopes that their creative content will go viral. It has been a God-send for people looking for an inexpensive way to reach more people in a short amount of time. While the products available to us almost seem somewhat magical to those of us who’ve been around a bit longer than the teeny-boppers, it is almost not worth the pain and suffering you risk experiencing if your one of a kind content is “stolen”. While Instagram may genuinely want to improve its product, what good is an awesome product if no one out there will use it? Stay tuned Insta-Berg; the people will not take this lying down. Check out these articles regarding the User Backlash: Instagram Reminds us that We are the Product For Sale How to back up your Instagram photos and delete your account Instagram rivals try to lure users away