Facebook is Not Evil, Just Dumb

facebook instagram evil dumbEver since Facebook announced a major change to Instagram’s terms of service, giving them the right to use and license users’ pictures however they like without compensation, debates have been raging all over the Internet.

There seem to be two sides to the debate.

On the one hand you’ve got the people who are outraged by the change.  They do not want Facebook/Instagram using their photos in ad campaigns and who knows what else.  This is not what they signed up for.  They are threatening to delete their accounts.

On the other hand you’ve got the people who say Facebook has to make money somehow.  If they didn’t they would go out of business.  They are providing its users with a free service, they have the right to set whatever (legal) terms of service they like. People can always leave if they don’t like it.

So, who is right?

Well, both actually.

Every social media company has the right to set whatever terms of service it wants. At the same time every individual has the right to leave and any of the dozens of social networks out there.

It’s really no different than saying a brick & mortar has the right to charge whatever it wants for its widgets and treat it’s customers like crap if it wants to. The customers can always go elsewhere. All true.

Smart Companies vs Dumb Companies

Smart companies find a balance between serving customers and pursuing profit. In fact, many (including myself) would argue when companies put their customers first, they create loyalty, repeat customers and “super fans” who rave about the company to their friends. When a company like Facebook/Instagram repeatedly steps on its users’ toes, they risk killing their golden goose (user base).

Exploiting your users and abusing their trust is a very dumb long term business strategy.

Facebook is not so amazing that it can’t become the next AOL or MySpace.

There are individuals and small groups of people all over the world who are developing what they hope will become the next great social media site to take the world by storm. They are emboldened by these events. They now have a huge opportunity to differentiate themselves from FB/IG and huge group of disgruntled FB/IG users who are looking for a new home where they will be appreciated.

Discuss

  1. What are your thoughts on the change in Instagram’s terms of services and Facebook’s aggressive use of users’ images to increase revenue?
  2. Are you considering deleting your Instagram or Facebook account?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

4 Responses to “Facebook is Not Evil, Just Dumb”

  1. PAUL STEINBRUECK , WHY YOU DONT START A CHRISTIAN FACEBOOK , WITH GODS HELP ? THAT WOULD BE FANTASTIC

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Hey Joe, if by "Christian Facebook" you mean a Facebook just for Christians, several have already been created. Google it and take a look. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the idea because one of the best parts of Facebook is being about to live out our faith online in the presence of those who aren't followers of Christ. We lose that ability to be a witness to non-Christians on a Christians-only network.

  2. PaulSteinbrueck Dec 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Perhaps I spoke too soon when I said Facebook/Instagram is just dumb. Here's an update from their blog.
    http://blog.instagram.com/post/38252135408/thank-

  3. I really liked this, Paul, "Smart companies find a balance between serving customers and pursuing profit." That is so true. I work hard at good customer service and I am sometimes taken aback when someone I am doing business with doesn't give me good customer service. It is in my DNA, I guess. Thanks again, Amy