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