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Instagram’s invasive new policies may cause mass exodus

Instagram has updated their policies, and in short order, your photos and your childrens’ photos can be used in ads without your permission, and the only way out is to delete your account by next month.

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Instagram makes a huge change

Instagram has released a new intellectual property policy that allows the company to sell users’ photographs without paying or notifying them, effective January 16th, only three months after the completion of Facebook acquiring the photo sharing app.

Now, according to its new Terms Of Use, “Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. 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.”

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Update: Instagram reverts back to original terms of service, click here to read more.
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What you must know about the new policies

First, it should be known that the Terms allow Instagram to share information about its users with Facebook as well as outside affiliates and advertisers, which is not alarming in and of itself, as that seems to be how all social networks behave and monetize now.

Slightly more alarming is that a picture you take of yourself, your child, your home, your work, your friends, etc. can be used in any advertisement they wish, without notifying you, compensating you, or requesting permission in any form. The new terms allow them to monetize your pictures, no matter the content.

Additionally, ads may not be labeled as ads, and it may not be clear in the long run that your images are being used by Instagram, and not pushed into ads by you. No matter the privacy settings on your account, even if you lock it down to completely private, it isn’t private from Instagram, and your photos are still subject to being used as they wish. This is not a promise that they will, but reserving the right to do so is a hint that they might.

Most alarming is the fact that underage users are not exempt. Instagram is dominated by children, so the idea that even though Instagram knows their age via Facebook login, they are not making an exception for these users, which is surprising and appalling.

How do you opt out? Delete your account. That’s it, no privacy settings, no opt out, just a complete wiping out of all of your pictures and community clout you’ve built up. Users who continue to upload photos after January 16th, and subsequently delete their accounts, will be granting the company the “irrevocable right to sell those images in perpetuity,” so it is most certainly time sensitive.

The impact of these new policies

This will very likely have an impact not only on user behavior, but the number of users, with tech analysts already publicly denouncing the photo sharing app and deleting their accounts, urging others to follow. One tech blog calls Instagram’s move “a suicide note.” Parents aware of the new policy may remove their children from Instagram, because even if they sign up with a fake name and fake account, Instagram can still use the images to their liking. Suddenly, Twitter’s photo filters are looking a little more appealing…

This new policy comes on the heels of Facebook users being allowed to vote on their right to vote in the future on how their personal information is handled, and the 669,000 votes (primarily opposed to the policy changes) were not heard, as Facebook requires 30 percent of users to cast ballots for a vote to be binding, and this vote only accounted for roughly 1.0 percent of total users.

The era of privacy is changing rapidly, led by the blatant disregard of Instagram and their parent company, Facebook. While Instagram is entertaining, and a great community builder, many question what policies will look like in two years, five years, and beyond, and if it is worth putting in the effort now when they may have to delete their account later over questionable privacy policies.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. asamur

    December 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    @averyholton didn’t for FB sooooo why now?

    • averyholton

      December 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      @asamur Good question. Different functions. More expectation of privacy. Less gradual intrusion.

      • asamur

        December 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        @averyholton I’m honestly curious because people don’t seem to care about privacy anymore…

        • averyholton

          December 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

          @asamur very true. Always seem caught off guard, too.

  2. averyholton

    December 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    @maxthompson #tweetsfrommygrandma

    • maxthompson

      December 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      @averyholton ORLY? https://t.co/a5tvJYSY Your grandma must be very hip to the next wave of big things.

      • averyholton

        December 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

        @maxthompson Biased opinion!!!

  3. lydialabat

    December 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @AgentGenius does IG already have the data base that’s in there even if people exit

  4. WayneHarriman

    December 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I’m still half asleep, but I could swear that I just heard on the news that they are removing that language from the TOS. Was I hearing things??

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Social Media

Social media is being used for hiring, and no, we’re not talking just LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media has evolved from being only community-oriented to career-oriented. See how users are getting jobs by being creative.

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social media, like tiktok, is being used for hiring. here are some examples of tiktok resumes.

Gen Z and Millennials are no doubt the heaviest users of social media, and perhaps the internet in general. But it’s no longer just about catching up with friends and family, posting memes, and hailing yourself as hashtag king – they are using it to get jobs in creative ways.

Kahlil Greene was a student at Yale University hell-bent on educating others about African American social movements and culture. Known as “The Gen Z Historian” on Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn, he got to posting about the lesser-known facts and stories of history, amounting to 1.3 million views very quickly, catching the attention of employers. Now with over 500,000 followers across all major platforms, Greene is heading to work in consulting focusing on public education.

“I think that’s the thing that people don’t realize that social media is everywhere, and it’s congruent with every lifestyle you want,” says Greene.

Another TikToker, Emily Zugay, has over 2 million followers on the platform from hilariously redesigning brand logos. Her personality of shooting down brand choices with such a dry delivery is sure to make you giggle. She’s appeared on Ellen, and many brands changed their logos to her suggestions, including McDonald’s, the NFL, Tinder, Doritos, and Nascar. Just announced, Panera Bread is realizing limited holiday cups by Emily Zugay, taking a stab at Starbucks who typically creates the mad rush for holiday cups. Though she hasn’t publicly spoken about taking on a new role due to her wacky design endeavors, she has been approached for many partnership collaborations and markets herself as a content creator on the platform in order to rack in the dough.

Having the perfect one-page resume and perhaps, an inkling of personalization in the cover letter (which no one enjoys writing and barely anyone reads), is no longer the secret to landing jobs. 92% of companies use social media to hire.

“Creating a personal brand doesn’t have to be scary, hard, or time-consuming. You just have to be yourself. Consistent posts, a few follows and some direct messaging can go a long way to open doors.”

TikTok launched a pilot program of applying to the short-form video powerhouse by well, making a TikTok on the platform. Within 48 hours, 800 videos were submitted with #TikTokResumes in their captions. Expanding from internal hiring to external hiring, the program allowed job seekers to apply with their videos to Chipotle, Target, Shopify, and more.

Want to get in on the action but don’t know where to start? Unfortunately, the TikTok submissions have now closed, but you can always follow these tips to start getting creative for your next career move: Embrace the tools on the platform, do your research about the company you’re applying to, make connections on the platform and within the company, show off achievements as you would in a typical resume, and be yourself!

For more cool resume ideas, check out this article on the most creative techie resumes.

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Reactions to Twitter Blue from real subscribers, p.s. its not worth it

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, gives more control over tweets and custom UI, but subscriber reception has been lukewarm.

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Twitter Blue Sign Up Page

Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that gives users increased control over their tweets and the appearance of their interfaces, launched this summer. Subscriber reception has been lukewarm, foreshadowing some resistance to shifts away from advertising-based revenue models for social media platforms.

The allure of Twitter Blue isn’t immediately apparent; beyond a relatively low price tag and increased exclusivity on a platform that emphasizes individuality, the service doesn’t offer much to alter the Twitter experience. Twitter Blue’s main selling point – the ability to preview and alter tweets before sending them – may not be enough to convince users to shell out the requisite three dollars per month.

Other features include the option to change the theme color and icon appearances. Twitter Blue subscribers can also read some ad-supported news articles without having to view ads courtesy of Twitter’s acquisition of Scroll, a company that provides ad-free news browsing.

But even with this variety of small customization options and the promise of more to come, users are skeptical. Android Central’s Shruti Shekar is one such user, beginning her review with, “Right off the bat, this feature isn’t worth the money you’d be spending on it every month.”

Shekar posits that the majority of the features are wasted on long-term users. “I think a lot of my opinions come from a place of using Twitter for so long in a certain way that I’ve gotten used to it, and now I find it challenging to adapt to something that would theoretically make my life easier,” she explains.

One of those adaptations centers on Twitter Blue’s “Undo Tweet” feature – something that belies the notion of proofreading and using common sense before sending thoughts into the nether.

“For me, 95% of the time, I really do pay attention to my tweets before I send them out,” says Shekar.

Twitter Blue checking Tweets before sending.

Shekar does praise Twitter Blue’s “Reader Mode” feature that allows users to view threads as uninterrupted columns but argues that the feature would probably end up being underutilized despite being a cool concept.

The aforementioned color and theme customization was of little interest to Shekar. “I actually found it a bit challenging to get used to the other colors, not because they’re ugly, but again because I am just so used to the classic blue,” she says.

One problem here is that the options to change link and theme colors and put threads in reader mode seem more like accessibility features than premium content. Twitter might do well to make these available to all users, if for no other reason than to avoid criticism about locking quality of life updates behind a subscription paywall.

Shekar’s criticism hits on a crucial point for any social media company looking to emulate Twitter Blue’s subscription model: Even if the subscription price is low, companies have to be prepared to make actual meaningful changes to the user experience if they want satisfied subscribers. That includes building in options that don’t fundamentally alter the basic aspects (or appearance) of the platform.

For more on Twitter Blue, check out their blog post on it here.

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Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck

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Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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