To Instagram or not to Instagram

There is a HUGE uproar happening over the forthcoming changes to the Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy of Instagram, now that it is an “Affiliate” owned by Facebook, as reported in this “news” article.

The article highlights the changes and criticizes the new language describing the rights of Facebook to receive payment to sell user content.

What it fails to do is instruct users to read or think for themselves. It also doesn’t differentiate between content users post privately or publicly.

If you don’t want your content sold or used without your specific knowledge or permission, change your settings to “private.”


There are quite a few things that bother me about this. The first is that several of the people I consider to be the more intelligent, thoughtful, and rational critical thinkers, whom I consider to be trusted resources and advisors, appear to have taken the information provided in the article at its face value instead of reading through the policies themselves .

It’s a bit tedious and dry reading, but well worth it to obtain first-hand knowledge and make an informed and autonomous decision. Don’t get me wrong, I am as likely as anyone to click that I have read, accepted, and agreed to things, which I have not actually done because I’m in a hurry to move on with whatever I’m trying to accomplish.

It bothers me to have a news article tell me what to think and be AFRAID of without finding out the facts for myself. That’s how politicians, spin doctors, and mass murder/suicide cult leaders manipulate people into doing stupid and heinous things.

Another thing that bothers me in this whole mess is the “something for nothing” mentality. Our society criticizes “welfare” recipients and corporate entities alike for not paying their share and contributing to the betterment and improvement of the world. Yet we feel somehow entitled to use these services to communicate, debate, create, share, and so much more without paying or doing anything more than pushing a button or typing a password.

Who has paid for their Facebook or Instagram services? Other than game credits or those paying to promote their product, service, or business, what do we contribute toward the maintenance, upkeep, hardware, software, paychecks or salaries needed to operate these services? Not me and I’m pretty sure you haven’t either.

What then? “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Somebody has to pay the bills. If we don’t want too many commercials in between our music and visual entertainment we pay subscriber fees. Businesses “sponsor” content by paying to advertise. If the majority of Facebook and Instagram users are non-purchasing consumers who avoid and ignore the advertisers, what’s the next way to pay the bills? Sell something. What to sell? Public content displayed by the non-purchasing consumers.

Somebody has got to pay for us to play, why shouldn’t it be us?

What about our rights to privacy and to not have our children or our intellectual and creative properties exploited?

Simple, learn how the apps and settings work and keep your content private and unsharable. If you don’t want your child’s face seen by strangers, don’t share it with strangers. Limit your friends and your followers, monitor the privacy settings on your albums. Better yet, send it in a private email to those you know and trust.

If you want to copyright your words, images, thoughts and ideas to make sure you retain credit and rights to them, then take the time to learn how to copyright and protect your work and don’t rely on another person, organization, or business to do it for you. Many will operate ethically and with respect and decency. Others will not. If you don’t take the time and put in the effort to protect and inform yourself don’t be surprised or offended when others don’t do it for you.

If you are an entrepreneurial business person who uses these services to publicly advertise your business but are profiting from these free to you services, you may need to form a coalition of others like you and working within the framework of copyrights and free enterprise negotiate different terms and conditions where you may wind up sharing your proceeds to defray costs and retain your rights to publicly posted content.

I am not advocating or championing Facebook or Instagram. There may be better service options that are better and more user friendly and respectful. I’m just saying find out the facts, think things through, and decide for yourself.

By the way, that works in other areas of life too: politics, religion, and interpersonal relationships.



  1. I’m not on Facebook, and some of the things I’m hearing about what they’re doing to make money sound kind of hinky. I’m sure their privacy policies are the same across the board, but the fact that they keep making it more difficult to keep yourself private is kind of creepy.

    The general impression I’ve gotten is that they’re using some lousy business practices to try and make themselves a money-making machine to justify their stock offering. Look up Facebook on Dangerous Minds for an ongoing analysis of what they’re doing (the first post is from 10/24/12).

    Yeah, they have the right to make money from the service they’re offering. But it sounds like they’re not being very smart about it.


    1. Mary,
      I don’t disagree with you and I am not championing their cause as much as I am encouraging those who are promoting the “sky is falling” attitude without actually reading the information, which is readily available first hand for themselves.

      People who I know will go to great lengths to find out the GMO information on their food product and better every politician who is running for office and are the first to jump on to to verify the veracity and expose the quote and like it forward hoaxes have fallen into the trap of letting talking heads, slanted reporting, and oped disguised as fact dictate their reaction instead of going through their usual process of making informed decision.

      I understand both the appeal and lack of appeal of Facebook. I have good reasons for opting to use it. I don’t begrudge anyone who makes a different choice, that’s their prerogative.

      Be well,


  2. An excellent commentary on the privacy wars!
    As for me, Zuckerberg has shown little or no interest in my privacy at any point along his coporate path. While I dn’t expect anonymity on the internet, neither will I be offering everything up so easily.

    I never used instagram, deleted my facebook a couple of years ago (that took some doing), and will not be using any of FBs products.
    But that’s just me.


    1. El Guapo,
      Thank you.

      I understand why many don’t wish to use the services, and that is their right.

      I realized quite a while ago that those of us who use Facebook are the commodity it is trading in. I have made a conscious choice to educate myself regarding the tools and applications to minimize my saleability. At the moment, the benefits it offers me are well worth the risks. I consider it an informed and managed risk on my part.

      I simply was stymied that some if the ones who were in a seeming panic and so willing to jump on the bandwagon are usually the ones who tend to research and evaluate information for themselves, rather than take a single source at face value.

      Be well,


  3. This!!! My facebook feed was full of people threatening to delete their Instagrams yesterday morning. As more news came out, it became clearer that the new policy is just like FB’s and not really anything to freak out about. Like you said, set it to private and they won’t use it. Mine is public, but I don’t care if they use my sunrise and food pictures, haha. I don’t share anything on there that I wouldn’t share with the public on here. My FB is locked down, though.

    I’ve been saying the same thing you were pointing out, too. I look at them using my photos as my payment for them letting me use their service.

    I’m so glad to see someone else who did research before jumping to conclusions!


    1. Thank you Pam. I think I was just shocked that there were several advocates who are usually very rational and critical thinkers who seemed ready to jump on the jump to conclusion bandwagon because it was an article reported on a news outlet.



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