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Is Instagram Really 'Committing Suicide' With Its New Terms of Service?
By: Christine Geraci
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In the words of photographer Clayton Cubitt, here it is: "Instagram's suicide note." 
 
Or is it, really?
 
Gaskets blew with atomic force this week when users finally began to realize that changes to Instagram's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, going into effect Jan. 16, implied that Instagram could profit from users' photos without providing the users with any compensation. 
 
Just as quickly, Instagram and Facebook responded to user complaints, saying the terms had been misintepreted. Instagram posted a blog saying this:
 
"Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period." 
 
We've been through this kind of thing before. People get all bent out of shape when social networks — private (or public, in Facebook's case) companies in business to make money — seemingly infringe on our privacy by selling our data to advertisers. Never mind the fact that these are social networks — hardly cornerstones of privacy. 
 
But what's different this time? Users serve their photos up to Facebook, which in turn allows advertisers to troll them for insights on what to sell users. Why is everyone so surprised that Instagram would be no different? 
 
In the end, it's all about the photos.
 
Photography is hard work. Those who make it a livelihood, and even those who dabble deserve compensation for that work. But the Internet has changed the way people look at this value, because of the ease with which people can pirate others' photos for their own purposes. Sure, there are laws that protect against this practice, but it still happens.
 
So when Instagram comes out with language that very clearly suggests it can take someone's photography and use it for their own financial gain, I can see how that might really tick people off.
 
But let's face it: ALL of our activity on social networks, Instagram or otherwise, is for someone else's financial gain. Can we use social networks for our own financial gain? Sure. But the social networks win regardless. Just one perspective. 


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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