Instagram: Time to Play the Instablame Game!

  • Buffer

You probably think this post is going to bash the new Instagram terms of use that would have went into effect on January, 16th… But no, I’m going to be bashing you and everyone else that hopped on the Instarevolt bandwagon a couple weeks ago.  Seriously, how can people who didn’t even read the original terms they signed up for be complaining when they don’t really know what actually changed?

Instagram Changed Their Terms

Come on People!


After learning about the class action lawsuit filed against Instagram regarding the change, I nearly blew a gasket!  I know we’re a lawsuit happy society but come on, how do you file a case for something that hadn’t yet or may not even happen?  Damages? Really, what damages? Please.  I wonder if someone plans on taking legal action against the Mayans because the world didn’t end.  That’s about how absurd I think this is.

The Instagram backlash was unlike anything I’ve ever seen; especially considering the updated terms ACTUALLY LIMIT WHAT IG can do with your photos, as opposed to the existing terms.  Oh wait, you probably didn’t realize that because you were too busy piling on the bandwagon.  IG users seem to have kicked the picturehorse in the mouth when you get down to the nitty gritty.  I’ll do my best to break down the difference between the existing/revised terms verse the rejected new terms.  There’s plenty of Instablame to go around, IG included, but once you compare the terminology, you’ll see the Occupy Instagram movement wasn’t a victory at all.


Reality of Old vs Proposed


Granted I’m not an attorney, I only play one on this blog, but everyone who’d been using Instagram since 2010 has been subject to these terms as follows (from Docracy):

Instagram Terms

All we’ve done is extended IG’s authorization to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate our photos.

Call me crazy, but next time, you should READ THE TERMS OF USE BEFORE you sign up for a service so you:

A.) Understand your rights

B.) Aren’t one of the stupid or the blind who add fuel to a fire that shouldn’t have been burning as fiercely in the first place.

While the rejected new terms were poorly written and easily misinterpreted, they CLEARLY limited what could be done with your content.


Don’t Worry, your Instagrams won’t be on a billboard


I can appreciate the stance of people who deleted their accounts out of principle.  Some people simply don’t want to risk their family photos or selfies being associated with advertisements.  Others are simply flattering themselves when they drop out because their stuff is so good advertisers will be lining up to steal their photos.  Though the question still begs, what were you doing on IG in the first place??? The risk has ALWAYS been there! Look, I have over 85,000 followers and hundreds of people tell me every day “how great” my photos are.  You don’t see me jumping ship.

The real reason you don’t need to worry comes down to one main factor – the picture quality.  I mean, have you ever seen an IG picture on a big monitor?  Only the best look palatable and the average looks downright dreadful.  That’s no offense to you; mine suck, as well, comparatively speaking.  DISCLAIMER: If they start uploading a full-resolution copy, I may make like Systrom and quickly backtrack J

And really, so what if an advertiser pays to have your post promoted (ie FB facebook sponsored post but on IG popular page); isn’t that a compliment?  I love it when Pure Michigan shares my content on their various social media channels.  Although, a key difference is they ask me prior to doing it.  It’s understandable why some people simply don’t want to risk having their photo used behind their back.  They shouldn’t have been on Instagram in the first place if it bothered them that much because it happens to ALL photographers on ALL platforms.


Facestagram needs to get a clue


Don’t worry, I’m going after everyone.  Instagram isn’t without blame and neither is Big Brotherbook. The manner in which they introduced their new terms was shady and the verbiage was easily interpreted as “we’re going to sell your photos to advertisers and there’s nothing you can do about it.”  From a PR standpoint, it was either idiotic or it was some ill-planned covert tactic to test us.  How did they not know there would be a reaction like this?  Does Facestagram even know its users?  When you get down to it, and the main reason I’m sticking around, is there’s no audience quite like the one you’ll find on Instagram.  We don’t want to be sold, but we will be supportive.  It’s an interesting dichotomy, to say the least.

Let’s remember, though, Instagram is now FB’s puppet for better or worse.  Facebook has a similar set of terms that everyone manages to deal with, though, so I’m not entirely sure why this was so blown out of proportion.  Aside from content privacy bit, the biggest laugher was regarding the age of its users.  “Sure, I (a 15 year old girl) have my parents agreement to your provision” said no one, ever.   They really do need to get a clue so a disruption like this will never have to be endured again.


You’ll also love >>> Instagram: How to Become Instafamous

I hope you enjoyed the piece.  Comments are welcomed and shares are appreciated. 

Tony Bennett is a passionate photographer, future Senator, and Instafamous Instagram Superhero.  Above all Tony is great guy and would be happy to answer all your Instagram questions below.


Some valid issues are brought out here. I do not use Instagram, but I know some people who do.  I will be sure and pass on this information to them.  They use it strictly to post to Facebook, so not sure it is a real issue. I do appreciate the information and will take it into consideration.



Nice perspective Tony. I'm more concerned with learning how to leverage Instagram for business. I mean, Instagram doesn't do much for traffic or sales. 


Since the topic is on the terms, both old and new, let me bring up one quick point. Sorry, make that two...


1) Instagram is a business, or at least they will be when they start making a profit. So it's their terms to change. We can like it or move on to another service. It's not a government regulated charity breaking the law, it's a free website trying to do business (I'll leave the Facebook part out for now).


2) I keep hearing everyone talk about the image quality but that doesn't hold water with what was first being discussed, or speculated. The idea wasn't to take pictures of Aunt Jane and plaster her face all over a glossy print magazine or a 40 foot billboard; it was to embed her photo in targeted ads served to her contacts. This is powerful idea, from a marketing perspective, because there are no ad agencies or professional photographers needed yet the results would blow traditional advertising away.


Aunt Jane would give a huge amount of credibility for a product she may or may not have ever heard of and would probably be clueless of her endorsement. That's the kind of advertising we're looking at, not professional shots of models on the beach. Who needs that with family members and close friends recommending our products? 


So, when you see a public outrage that goes beyond reasonable, there are two things to ask. 1) Is it really that awful and I just don't see it? Or, 2) If it is unreasonable, could something or someone else be behind the scenes adding fuel to the fire? (Hint: "the results would blow traditional advertising away")


Where's the truth? I have no idea but it's fun to watch. ;)



Great post.  The other part that is funny is how many folks who are grumpy about their FB stock performance were also mad about IG trying to monetize the service.


Thanks for enlightening me Tony!

I never got into instagram because it just didn't resonate with me.  Reading this post brings out the importance to Read The Terms And Conditions!!!  Read them no mater what you are opting into.  That is the problem for so many people.  They usually say to themselves "oh yea, yada yada"  click and run. 

Even on some blogs I visit and want to comment on, in order to do so, I have to "agree" to some terms and conditions...Once I see that ....I'm out of there.

Thanks for the info, I have many friends using this.



Hey Tony, I have to disagree with you on this one. I wrote a couple posts explaining the real issues. I work with contract negotiations for a living so I instantly saw the big deal which is it is now transferable. This means the right to use and sell you photos was by Instagram which makes sense because it is their site and they need free reign to do what they need to, but when they have the right to sell and sublicense that right, that is a major difference. This means they can start selling access and use of your account to anyone else outside of Instagram. Lets say you hate Westboro Baptist Church picketing funerals of the troops. Now they could sell your content and show pictures of you on an ad supporting Westboro and they would also fall under the right that you don't have to sue them. There are many reasons that were not accidental that people should be bothered. You don't draft legal documents by accident and you don't write in rights you don't intend on using. You should read my articles on this topic. Cheers!