Dec. 19 - Instagram has 100 million users - and a lot of them, are furious about new privacy policies. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is 100 million. Instagram, the popular photo-sharing service owned by Facebook, made many of its 100 million users very angry when it introduced new privacy policies. The new rules lay the groundwork for the company to make money by giving marketers the right to display profile pictures, photos and other personal information in advertisements. Ramon Goni runs his own film and photography business in New York City. He used to use Instagram regularly to post photographs that helped him reach clients in several different social networks simultaneously. He says using Instagram was convenient, but he deleted his account without a second thought. SOUNDBITE: RAMON GONI, FILMMAKER AND PHOTOGRAPHER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I was just shooting a campaign with Orlando Bloom in South Africa, and I usually have one or two, three pictures behind the scenes saying this is who we are, this is what's going on, and if Orlando Bloom finds himself in advertising that has nothing to do with that campaign, they would directly sue me, the production company and everyone else." Instagram's new policies go into effect on January 16th. Users, like Goni, who want to opt-out, must quit using the service. As he was going through different screens to reach the account delete button, Instagram tried to convince Goni to stay displaying a message that if he deleted his account, he would never be able to use the same user name if he decided to come back, and implying that privacy rules may change, again. SOUNDBITE: RAMON GONI, FILMMAKER AND PHOTOGRAPHER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I mean, it's almost telling you 'Think very much about what you are going to do, we may change this policy, so you may not want to delete your account.' And that is very sleazy in the way they are dealing with their users, and, you know, for informed, quite informed people it is an incredibly wrong way of doing business. And it also jeopardizes not only our own businesses as content creators, but also their business model. Facebook was based upon the principle of sharing, free sharing. Now what they're promoting is the opposite." The new rules may have been introduced as part of a new business model created to rationalize the $1 billion Facebook paid for the photo service. But Instagram is taking a risk, warns Goni. SOUNDBITE: RAMON GONI, FILMMAKER AND PHOTOGRAPHER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Over time and we've seen it with other social networks people may not leave, people may become more apathetic as you were saying and then maybe another application , another websie, another social network will happen, will arise, that adopts better to our needs and we will just flock away." In response to the growing public outcry over new privacy policies, Instagram in a blog post says it has "no plans" to incorporate user photos into ads.