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Did Instagram redeem itself? I think not.

Last night I received this email from Instagram like many other people did.

Hello,

Our community has grown by many millions of people since we wrote our original Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. As we announced in December, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. These policies also now take into account the feedback we received from the Instagram Community. We’re emailing you to remind you that, as we announced last month, these updated policies will be in effect as of January 19th, 2013.

You can read our blog post that highlights some of the key updates. And remember, these updates don’t change the fact that you own your photos that you post on Instagram, and our privacy controls work just as they did before.

Thank you,
The Instagram Team

Did they do enough to try to save themselves?  No, not really.  This is a very weak attempt at trying to recover from the backlash over their change in their privacy policy which partially sated that:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

Done!

All this email says is that you own your photos (of course!), and that they’ve updated their terms based on user “feedback.”  But, you still have to follow links and read them yourself.  There is no mention of how Instagram can use your photos or make money off of your photos without you knowing about. Instagram doesn’t even address this issue.  Imagine seeing a photo of your kids in some online ad for, well, just imagine…  This potential is enough for me to never use Instagram again.

Also, this email isn’t even from a person; it’s from the “team.”  Really, Kevin Systrom, CEO?  You can’t even send it yourself?

This email should spell out the specifics of all the issues involved, rather than a veiled attempt at distracting the reader into thinking all is well.  To me the biggest issue wasn’t ownership of the photo – you took the photo, of course you own it.  The issue is how Instagram plans on using your photos and this email does nothing to address that.

It appears now, that Instagram has removed all of that from their terms, but, again, this email doesn’t really address that.

AppStats says the photo-sharing service’s daily users dropped from 16.35 million on the day of the controversy to 7.42 million as recently as yesterday. Instagram has since ditched the disputed terms-of-service plan, which (among other things) would have given Instagram free license to use anyone’s uploaded image content in advertising. The terms would also have let Instagram share user information across the Facebook business.

That’s good they’ve changed their Terms of Service back to the previous privacy settings, but, one would think that after losing more than half of its daily users (me included) that they might have done more to save themselves.  And reading boring Terms of Service plans is tough, but necessary.

Buh-bye Instagram!  There are too many other alternatives.

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