Surprise, surprise, Instagram is evil too.
The freshly Facebook owned Instagram have just announced changes in their terms of service that will mean that as of 16th January 2013 they will have the right to sell your pictures as they see fit without giving you any say or compensation. In response to this the land of Twitter has obviously gone bonkers trending the name of the site both with AND without a hashtag. Which in Twitter terms is serious shit.
I think we can all agree that what Instagram have done here is a bit cheeky and evil on Google Scale but quite why everyone is so shocked about it is utterly beyond me. Let’s face it; large corporations have been sucking the lifeblood out of us for decades whether they’re the Coca Cola Company or direct mail credit card enforcers. You hardly have to be a Bilderberg conspiracy theorist to realize it and has it affected your life in any atrociously negative way so far? No, has it balls. At least not for the majority of western civilization anyway.
There’s a common joke that having ‘Instagram doesn’t make you a photographer.’ This is a joke that’s funny because it’s true. Having access to a digital filter does not make you a photographer, which is demonstrated by the crap you have to sift through on any given day if you’re a regular user. The fact that so many people have become outraged at all over this shows that many Instagram users not only have a severely inflated sense of themselves but that they also apparently do class themselves as photographers. Reading the many tweets it’s clear that lots of people seem to genuinely believe that their ‘creative property’ is at risk. Which is mind boggling quite frankly, do you honestly really think anyone actually gives a shit about which craft fairs you’ve been to this weekend or #WhatYouWoreToday?
Owning or not owning the rights to your sepia-toned cupcake photographs and birds-eye views of brogues stood near puddles won’t affect your ability to remain an entirely vacuous and self-absorbed Internet entity. It definitely won’t stop me from taking pictures of my food anyway. Namely because I know for a fact that nobody would actually want to buy them. Hell, I’m often shocked that people even look at most of them. Can we actually seriously imagine Instagram becoming a contender in the world of stock-photography, which is what a lot of the press are suggesting. It’s the photographic equivalent of Belle and Sebastian being the soundtrack to every single advert and every film starring Joseph Gordon Levitt in a plot about walking puppies with Ryan Gosling while they chase after Zooey Dechanel for 500 days. It’s a tweed-clad twee overlords wet dream. The world is often a sick place but it’s not sickly.
I really cannot see Instagram making serious money out of photo distribution. At least not until the quality of photographs gets any better anyhow, or it becomes harder to not just ‘steal’ them instead, which I can’t see happening either. There are more than enough better and (probably) cheaper places that you can get imagery from. As far as I can really see, being worried about Instagram fleecing you is just giving yourself a cyber ego massage and reassuring yourself that you’re a real photographer. At best some of your images might pop up in an Instagram advert, which isn’t really that different from uploading them onto the site in the first place and let’s face it, if the idea of people looking at your photographs for free really bothers you then you should probably reconsider joining a photography based social network.
As I type there’s currently a plethora of people crying about all of this so much that they’re threatening to actually delete their entire Instagram account, Valencia filtered memories and all. The key adjective in all of this being the word ‘threatening,’ which is all they’re really doing. Very few will actually leave as that would be too much of an effort and quite frankly a massive a pain. Plus, you’re not actually guaranteed that by doing that you’re removing the images from Instagrams vast and no doubt gargoyle adorned database.
Yes, by engaging in such underhand tactics Instagram are being a sneaky bunch of sneaks but will it ruin any of our lives that much? No. Obviously they now technically have the right to flog our Dutch-angled photos for squillions of pounds but it’s hardly going to affect the majority of us, if it even affects anyone at all. The company themselves are fairly adamant that it’s just some misleading wording that will allow them to align everything with Facebook a little easier, which it might be. It might also be a way for them to sell our souls to Satan or a tactical attempt to get a bit of money out of their social rival Twitter at some point. A site that they’re currently in the midst of severing usability ties with. Generally though if Instagram are looking to monetize the company there are lots of other less controversial ways that they could do it. Charging for the app itself and creating novelty mugs are just two of those ways.
In the grander scheme of things, the Facebook empire already own so much information about us anyway that suddenly having the legal clearance to trade our personal pictures isn’t going to make much of a difference in the long run. If they really do turn out to be Orwellian styled tyrants we’re already screwed, pseudo-sun glazed pictures or not.
Now quit moaning about it and enjoy real life. The world is going to end on Friday anyway.