Instagram and Facebook: Invasion of Privacy

By: Ariella Linovski

In the last few days there has been a huge backlash against Instagram for its new privacy policy and terms of service.

These changes mean that Instagram can:

  • sell users’ photos to advertisers without notification or payment
  • share users’ information with Facebook, and
  • share users’ information with other affiliates and advertisers

Users can’t opt out of this policy unless they delete their accounts by January 16, 2012.

Facebook, Instagram’s parent company has similarly been shifting to allowing users less and less control of their own photos.  I became aware of this when a person who I did not know commented on one of my wedding photos. This happened because although I only allow my Facebook friends the capability to view my photos, Facebook changed its default settings to allow friends of friends to see any newly created Facebook albums.

As well, for each photo that users upload to Facebook with a mobile device, the default is now public, regardless of your previously selected privacy options. Users now need to specifically change the privacy setting for each photo that they upload with a mobile phone. This makes maintaining privacy on Facebook a burden.

Users, including myself, do not like having their personal information compromised and exploited by social media sites for profit.

In an era where professional life is intertwined with personal life, users need to keep their personal photos private. The more access advertisers have to Facebook and Instagram photos, the less likely that these social media outlets will thrive.

I see users’ dissatisfaction with Facebook’s and Instagram’s privacy policies playing out in 3 main ways:

  1. Users will leave Instagram and Facebook for other social media sites with better privacy policies
  2. Users will watermark their photos to prevent advertisers from using them
  3. Facebook and Instagram will come up with a different business strategy

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