A reporter just asked me what I thought of the — to put it mildly — controversial new terms of service at Instagram. Here’s what I said:

First, this is a Facebook issue, since Facebook owns Instagram. The coverage of this has tended to ignore or downplay that fact.

Second, Facebook has a long record of treating users’ rights and privacy in unfortunate ways. It doesn’t surprise me that they’re doing it again. I would expect, in the next few days, to see Facebook/Instagram follow the standard FB playbook: Take one step back, having taken three steps forward, and call it “listening to our users”.

Third, a user of the Instagram app should not have to make a choice of either accepting such sweeping terms or quitting the service altogether. (I use neither Facebook nor Instagram at this point.)

Fourth, this is a clear example of why we should be willing to pay for some software and services. I want to be a customer, not a product, and I’m willing to pay for that — but increasingly I’m not given that opportunity.

Finally, this is a great opportunity for Flickr or other photo services to create a more user-friendly ToS, and lure people away from the sites that don’t.

Thanks for stopping by…

This is what I consider my “anchor site” on the Web. Think of it as a portal to (almost) everything I’m doing, online and offline.

My primary gig these days is at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University, where I work to bring entrepreneurship and digital media literacy into the curriculum. I’m also a blogger, author, speaker, media investor and co-founder of several online businesses. 

  • About: More about me and my work
  • Permission Taken: My upcoming book/web/etc. project.
  • Mediactive: My most recent book/online project
  • We the Media: The official site of my previous book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
  • Calendar: My whereabouts and speaking engagements
  • Contact: How to get in touch with me