Instagram apology clarification or backtrack?
December 19, 2012 9:52 by M. Aldalou
It is often repeated that ’there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ and that even bad press is still good press. If that statement is anything to go by, then Instagram is one lucky company.
The only apparent way out was for unwilling users to deactivate their accounts before a January 16 deadline – on which the revised policy will be put in place.
One of the more popular tweets was that of Anderson Cooper, anchor at CNN. His tweet was re-tweeted over 5,000 times and it read: #Instagram will now be able to use anyone’s photos in ads? Without consent? Come on! Is there another photo app people recommend?
Hundreds of thousands of disgruntled comments poured in, flooding the already explosive timeline of Twitter. Users in the UAE expressed their outrage at what they considered to be an invasion of their privacy. But then, in the late hours of the night – after witnessing the havoc that was created – Kevin Systrom, co-founder of the company published a blog post to apologise for the misunderstanding and the use of vague language. Titled ‘Thank you, and we’re listening’, it read as follows:
“Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean. I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion.”
“It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”
Even after the blog post went viral, some users were relieved while others weren’t convinced. Nothing like the power of the people to force a company to take a U-turn they thought. They believed it wasn’t a clarification but rather, a sudden change of heart.
“Come on people, this isn’t a “clarification” it’s a backtrack,” tweeted James Temple, a Dot Com commentary columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Many agreed with him.
Do you think that Instagram are genuinely apologetic and that it was just vague language used? Or do you believe that the protests of users forced them to turn it around?