Instagram / Facebook Social Media Lesson

There is a lot of huff and puff spreading online in regards to the change of policy with the social media photo-sharing application, Instagram, which allows it to perpetually sell user photos without payment or notification.

While – (as I’m not a lawyer) – I’m not going to attempt to decipher at any level of detail what the policy change does and does not mean, I would make this fairly common sense observation.

If you don’t like it, leave Instagram. Stop using it.

Remember, there are other photo-sharing tools to be found online.

The most ironic response I’ve so far seen is the creation of this Facebook group, entitled “Hey Instagram, Hands off my photos!”, and which was pointed to by Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

The group description espouses:

“Let Instagram know that our photos belong to us and we have the right to control how they are used and whether or not our information is sold to advertisers.”

The first irony is that Facebook owns Instagram.

The second is the fact that Facebook sells personal data to advertisers too, so complaining about Instagram making this policy change, on the platform created by its owners seems to miss the point.

They should complain about Facebook too.

It could – (and has) – been argued that the creation of the group is designed to send a message to both Instagram and Facebook.

My observation is that I would find it most likely, that most users of either or both services don’t even know about the relationship between the two.

Social media is riddled with this business model.

How does the advertiser promoting the current Icehouse tour know to put their advertisement on my Facebook home page?

Because as a long time Icehouse fan, I’ve ‘liked’ their official fan page. Facebook provides that information to the advertiser, so the advert can be directed to me.

Specifically to me as an Icehouse fan.

Very efficient.

A number of betting agencies target my account with Essendon Football Club branded advertising, because Facebook knows I’m an Essendon supporter, and tells the advertising agencies so.

How do you think Facebook makes squillions of dollars, without charging their users a single cent?

It is the information they collect about you, which they can and do sell as a service to advertisers, who know they will get to exactly the people they want to get to.

The would be no point sending an Essendon branded advert to a Collingwood fan.

Given the hate/hate relationship between the two football clubs, mixing this up in your advertising could actually harm your standing with the person you sent the wrong version of the advert to, and you’d have spent money doing it.

Not so efficient.

The simple fact is, if you don’t want personal information or content to be used for the financial goals of the social media sites you provide that information or content to, don’t provide it to them.

Remember, anything you put online, stays online, somewhere – and can be used by anyone who finds it – with or without your permission.

Participate or not – it’s your choice.