Free Networks

April 11, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I agree with most of Michael Schechter's comments about the reaction to the Instagram acquisition. I depart with his reasoning at the last paragraph though:

If Facebook buying Instagram pissed you off, I have a suggestion. Don’t just stop using Instagram, stop using free social networks and services period. Stop using sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare or Pinterest, because it is a given that they will all inevitably let you down in favor of the bottom line. More often than not, when you actually quit a service, it’s not because they were evil. It’s just because they either became useless or boring.

I think people are pissed off1 because Facebook bought Instagram, not because Instagram was sold. I imagine that a lot of those upset were using Instagram because they didn't trust Facebook with their photos so they were using Instagram.2 Facebook has proven that they can not be trusted with personal information. Where we differ, is that I don't think that the risk is inherent to free services. I think the risk is inherent to any business. What I am frustrated with is this new business model of obfuscated legalese in EULA's that give these businesses carte blanche to sift and process every detail of a user's life and then package it and sell it.

If you are pissed about Facebook buying Instagram, then stop giving away your intellectual and social property for free. Stop giving away personal information on Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare or Pinterest. They won't be quite so appealing of an acquisition without a herd of cattle to sell.

  1. I feel uncomfortable speaking for other people. I did not use Instagram. I think over-filtered photos are shity and ugly. I think your kids will look back and wonder why you messed up all of the family photos with kitchy effects. Let's all complain that our phones lack super awesome cameras but then process our photos to look like they were taken with a instant camera from 1972. 

  2. I'm guessing Michael would agree with that.