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InstaAnger: The Billion Dollar Backlash

What would you do with a billion dollars? I would buy a Gulfstream G650, an on-call pilot and commission Karl Lagerfeld to design my in-flight loungewear. Go big or go home, right? Of course if your name is Instagram (aka FaceBook), a billion dollars only buys a whole lot of controversy.

Since Facebook aquired the popular photo sharing app earlier this year, news media, bloggers and social networks have speculated as to how FaceBook would change Instagram. Many suggested whatever changes were on the way would be for the worse; they were right.

On Monday, Instagram released a new version of its Terms & Conditions, which specifically stated users would '...agree that a business or other entity may pay us [Instagram] to display your username, likeness, photos... in connection with paid and/or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.'

Perhaps New York-based photographer & popular Instagrammer, Clayton Cubitt said it best, opting to tweet a screenshot of the new terms and conditions, dubbing it simply, 'Instagram's suicide note'.

He wasn't alone.

Public backlash was swift with numerous Instagram users opting to delete their accounts and the app. I personally was given the push to finally sign up for FlickrPro.

Although Instagram has now backed away from its advertising plan, promising it would be 'reviewing' the policies that caused the revolt of a typically loyal fan base, the long term damage may already be done.

Despite claims that Instagram's intention is not to sell your photos and the terms having merely been written in broad terms for legal purposes, it's the type of controversy people are unlikely to forget any time soon.

For most of us, the real question is whether or not this policy is something you can accept. Sure, Instagram needs to make money in order to make FaceBook believe it's billion dollar investment was worth the cost. Since I'm not particularly worried about my billion dollar investment, I'm simply left to ponder the interesting, not to mention some potentially concerning issues surrounding who really owns what we believe is 'personal' online content.


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