Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Instagram aren't going to sell your pictures!

Instagrammed cup of (Costa) coffee

Anyone else have their Facebook feed clogged up today with friends absolutely horrified that Instagram were going to sell their pictures? Throughout the day, this same story came up time and again and it appears as though Instagram clocked on.

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram published a blog post about an hour ago to "eliminate the confusion". So what's the real story behind the new terms? No, Instagram aren't planning on selling your pictures. Systrom's wrote it quite clearly:

"From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead 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."

First: "it is not our intention to sell your photos." Right, glad that's cleared up and now we can move on. 
Their initial terms and conditions stated (and as of publishing still state): "you hereby grant to Instagram a royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide licence to use the content you post on or through the Service...". Essentially, they realised their audience was not happy and decided to "remove the language that raised the question" and the controversy. Good move.

He starts by saying that "Instagram was created to become a business". There should be no shock there. Zuckerberg's not an idiot and he'll have seen a business plan with a decent strategy before he brokered the $1bn deal. Such a platform was always going to eventually succumb to advertising, and this should have been made evident after Facebook bought the company.

What's all this about advertising then - are they going to use our pictures to advertise the service?  Well, yes and no. If we go further down the blog post, it explains further. Like what currently happens on Facebook, if you follow a brand, or a business, your profile picture may appear in some kind of advert for them on the service detailing that you follow them and so, since we're friends, I should follow them too.

So your photos still belong to you, and the main difference is that you should expect some form of advertising to be weaning its way into Instagram. But weren't you expecting that sooner or later, anyway?

Originally published on my blog on journalism.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Using Kerouapp: Live Blogging the student protests

ave you heard of Kerouapp? It's not been used on many occasions but it's definitely a very useful tool. It first came to my attention during the Guardian's coverage of the French elections. Kerouapp makes the most of the combination of geotagging and Twitter and allows the user to connect a Twitter account to the platform. Every time you tweet (or tweet with a specific hashtag), the platform updates an embeddable Google map with the details of the tweet (and image if you include one). You can also cycle through all the messages, and the map will change depending on the location of the device when the tweet was sent.

The Guardian's use was quite neat - Henley travelled around the country interviewing people about their thoughts on the candidates and the elections, with the map taking you from Paris to Marseille to Toulouse and more.