On Privacy, Opinions, and Instagram

Neven Mrgan, on why users need not worry too much about Instagram’s new ToS:

I bring this up because in the wake of Instagram’s new, Facebooky terms of service, I’m seeing some worry that their plan might be to sell users’ photos. After all, these terms seem to say that Instagram reserves the right to use these photos however they want. Perhaps they will sell my cute baby pictures to baby magazines? This is incredibly unlikely for three reasons:

  1. Your photos aren’t that good.

  2. Photos aren’t that valuable. Even professional photos are incredibly cheap. Hence,

  3. No magazine or website will risk using a photo with a sketchy, second-hand license when they could buy a better one for peanuts.


I don’t know what Instagram’s ultimate plan is, and it’s very likely that they don’t know either. But it probably has nothing to do with selling or abusing your photos. Your photos just aren’t worth much.

I tend to agree. While I follow lots of people who take terrific photos that could be positively repurposed elsewhere, ultimately the majority of photos posted on Instagram aren’t worth anything. At least, nothing in the context of selling to advertisers.

Business models aside, personally I’m just not that hung up on Instagram’s Terms of Service. Call me naive, but again, I just don’t feel my, as of tonight, 260 photos are worth it to them. I’m not worried about my privacy being invaded either. Being active on a social network on the Internet means compromising your privacy to a certain extent; I choose to reclaim what I don’t want the universe seeing by setting my accounts as private. What this does is allow me to have explicit control over who sees my posts, tweets, photos, whatever. Moreover, in the case of Twitter, using a third-party client like Tweetbot or Twitterrific allows me to filter out the crap that I have little or no interest in (e.g., trends and promoted tweets), which enables me to have the Twitter experience I want. No force-fed bullshit.