I've been a huge fan and user of Instagram ever since it became available on Android phones. Today, though, my fanboy status comes to a halt.
In an effort to monetize the product, Facebook—which owns Instagram—said today it "claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world's largest stock photo agency," as reported by Declan McCullagh for CNET.
What does that mean for you as a meeting professional? McCullagh offers a great example.
"That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on—without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo," he reported.
That may be great economically for a property, but what about the individual? If I found out a hotel was using my photos without my permission and making money off of them—even after I paid for room and board!—I'd boycott that place till my dying day. I suspect I wouldn't be the only one.
The backlash today is growing by the hour, so I suspect Instagram/Facebook to reel the policy in a bit. But if they—and any business that plans on making money behind the backs of their customers—want to remain viable, they should do away with the policy completely. I understand some services can't remain free forever. But these same services shouldn't bait and switch their customers without facing the consequences.
Do you use Instagram? Do you plan to stop using it? What are your thoughts?