Instagram’s Latest Folly – Updated TOS has the Internet abuzz in a bad way

Just one week after Instagram and Twitter announced they were severing an important tie, it seems that the photo-sharing app’s maintainers are looking to displease even more users. Yesterday they announced an update to their Terms of Service – which will include more information in January – and has the Internet abuzz with distaste for the service changes. instagram

Now Instagram can share users’ photos with advertisers who can then use those photos and general user data to promote sponsored content. This means that, in theory, you could someday see your Instagram’d photo of a heart-shaped pizza pie on a Valentine’s day advertisement for Pizza Hut and you wouldn’t see a cent, dime, or single pepperoni as payment.

The update states explicitly, “…To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” This is par for the course when it comes to the TOS of some other sites (like Facebook for example), though the general response from the Internet has been negative. A plethora of former Instagram users  have openly said that they’re leaving the service – which isn’t very pleasant to do if you’ve enjoyed your time Filtering prized snapshots.

Getting rid of your Instagram account requires a few steps, and there’s no way to undo the process or sign back up later on with the same username. If you’re worried about Instagram selling your photos then deactivating your account or removing all of your pictures is the only way to keep them from doing so. Before taking such a drastic step, I recommend backing up your photos with a service like Instaport (which seems to be running slow today due to an influx of traffic) or Copygram and downloading them to your computer. To preserve your username, simply delete your photos one by one and then leave your account vacant, should you want to reinstate it in the future.

Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 1.20.52 PMIf you’re looking for a new service many shutterbug folks are flocking over to Flickr’s improved photo app crafted by Yahoo. It has everything that Instagram does and then some – filters, Social Sharing, geo-tagging, groups, and the ability to search millions of beautiful photos from all over the world. If you’re going to make the switch, this app is currently your best option.

As the dust starts to settle, it will be interesting to see how many people leave Instagram in fear of creative violation. One thing is certain; ever since Facebook purchased Instagram and it became a chess piece in the game of Twitter vs Facebook, things have been on a downward slope for this once glamorized photo sharing tool. Are you leaving it behind?

Update 12/18/12

In response to this backlash, Instagram has released a statement on their blog addressing some of their users’ concerns and redacting changes to their TOS. According to the post, “The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience.”

The question remains; are they sincerely undoing the changes or simply back-tracking to save face and keep their users? To me it seems like a combination of both, but we can’t blame Instagram for wanting to fix such a tangled mess that has undoubtedly tarnished their once shiny image.

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Twitter Pulls Instagram

Early Monday the Internet was abuzz with some news that left many Tweeters wondering if they’d ever see the likes of Instagram integration again. It began with Twitter pulling views of Instagram photos from feeds – meaning you can no longer scroll through Tweets and see the photos embedded into the messages. Now, you have to follow links out to the external profiles or, if you’re on a device, out to the Instagram app.

Rumors began to circulate and people were left wondering if it was a preemptive strike leading up to something much bigger — they were right. Later Monday, Twitter announced it’s own service which allows users to put filters on their photos before uploading them – eerily similar to Instagram. On top of that, you can frame, crop, and auto-enhance your candids to make them look even better. And are these ultra-beautified photos available in expanded Tweets on Twitter feeds? Yes! blog_filters

Out with the old, in with the new!

It would seem Twitter is trying to be rid of Instagram altogether. Perhaps they want to take traffic away from this popular photo-sharing service and nudge users towards their own service. Perhaps they were bent out of shape when Facebook, a known rival, coughed up $1 Billion in cash to purchase Instagram this year. It’s all just speculation of course; but with such a strong following of photography nuts ready to back Instagram I doubt it’ll go anywhere anytime soon…despite the comedic stigma following it around.

Can Twitter’s new photo filter service rival a powerhouse that Facebook deemed big enough to buy for such a pretty penny? Only time – and filtered photos – will tell.

Twitter News Roundup!

A lot has been happening on Twitter lately, and Omnomedia is here to report it all! Whether you’re a fan of Twitter or someone who just doesn’t see the value in those 140 character Tweets, you’ll still find these pieces of news interesting!

Feeling Peckish?

Perhaps my favorite Twitter Art installation ever comes from Latvian artist Voldemars Dudums. What did he do that makes his Tweetable art stand out above the rest? Dudums set up the account @hungry_brids, then laid out a keyboard topped with pork fat and waited for the real birds of nature to do the talking. Watch a video f Dudum and the birds in action! As the birds pecked away at the fattened keys, they produced messages that Voldemars then sent to Twitter.

To most this will be minimally amusing, especially because the Tweets mean nothing at all. But to those who understand how very bland the average Tweet can be, this art installation is quite the enjoyable pun for Twitter itself.  So, what do birds tweet about anyways? Click on the image below for the magical answer!

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Bridge-Building Through Tweets

Ladies and Gentlemen of Social Media land, it’s finally happened. Pope Benedict XVI has joined Twitter. His handle @pontifex translates to bridge-builder in Latin – a very metaphorical title for such a powerful public figure taking to this virtual broadcaster. While Pope Benedict has yet to make a single Tweet (we’re told that’ll happen on December 12th), he already has nearly 300,000 Followers and has Followed a bevy of duplicate Pope accounts in different languages.

Whether the Pope himself will sit down in front of a computer and type out these Tweets, or whether someone will broadcast his messages for him, this is certainly a sign of how imperative Twitter has become today. If the Pope has a Twitter account, shouldn’t you?

“I Love Twitter, I Love It Not. I Love Twitter, I Love It Not.” – Chris Brown

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After a recent Twitter-war with comedian Jenny Johnson over Chris Brown’s abusive past with on-again/off-again girlfriend Rihanna, Chris Brown up and left Twitter in a disgruntled frenzy. His PR reps probably appreciated the move (as some of his Tweets about Johnson were getting heavy) but his fans certainly did not. Johnson was flooded with death threats and hate-Tweets, blamed as the one who pushed Brown to deleting his account.

But now he’s back. Twitter seems to have restored Brown’s account besides having wiped all of his Tweets away – most likely at his PR team’s request. The sole Tweet as of today, sent this morning, reads “#CarpeDiem” and nothing more. So is this a chance for Brown to reinvent himself on Twitter? Will he publicly apologize to Johnson for the barrage of fans she suffered, or will he ask her to apologize for chasing him off of Twitter? Only time will tell.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town…

With Christmas fast approaching, I have to include Santa Claus and his cheery Twitters at the end of this news roundup! There may not be an official Twitter account with that iconic blue checkmark for dear old Saint Nick, but there are still a couple of interesting handles to follow. @OfficialSanta has been updating regularly  for their nearly 330,000 followers, counting down the days ’til Christmas, utilizing Christmas themed hash-tags like #DearOfficialSanta and #PleaseFollowMeSanta, and Tweeting Holiday-themed photos.

If you want to track Santa’s trek across the world along with NORAD, then give @NoradSanta a follow for fun updates. They’ll help you tail him on Twitter (and on Facebook too) so you’ll never miss a single update on jolly Nick from now until Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho, Tweet Tweet Tweet!