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Instagram, A Love Story

I wish I could be Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Not for his super sweet ride, but because I have clearly been…

I wish I could be Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Not for his super sweet ride, but because I have clearly been in a fog these past few days with all the talk about Instagram.  Instagram announced that their new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service would go into effect January 16th. I must have been too busy scrolling through copious amounts of selfies, foodstagrams and pictures of cats in hats to notice this announcement.

There are three stages to dealing with a Terms and Conditions update:


A law degree would have been helpful in reading the terms, as the lingo is somewhat confusing. In short, Instagram does not own your content but they can license it to advertisers. They can provide your user information and cookie data to these third-party advertisers which then can be used to create advertisements geared towards your preferences, all without your permission.

The policy states- “Our Service Providers will be given access to your information as is reasonably necessary to provide the Service under reasonable confidentiality terms.” What exactly are “reasonable confidentiality terms?” I am not sure that providing any of my information to a third party without my permission can be considered reasonable. And the policy details go on and on

Well, according to my calendar it is January 18th. Am I in trouble?

I love Instagram and its ability to alter my photos. Who needs to risk skin cancer by tanning when I can simply use the Lo- Fi filter! I do not post anything on my Instagram that is incriminating or that I would be embarrassed to show others. I also enjoy free apps, and it order for this to continue to be free, advertisements are inevitable.


I sit here with my phone in hand. Do I delete my Instagram account right now? Is it too late? Are they already using my photos without my permission in the past 48 hours?  Instagram says on its blog “Nothing has changed about your photos and who can see them.” I guess I do not understand but if you can use my information for advertising purposes, is that not changing something? Will the Instagram I know and love be gone? Will it now be flooded with advertisements that know about my shoe shopping addiction.


After some contemplation I decided to keep my Instagram. Countless other apps have similar policies. Take Instagram’s owner Facebook. Facebook states in their policy- “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)”. And still my Facebook account remains. Does it freak me out a little bit that the ads on the side of my page are eerily geared towards my interests? Yes? But it is  th price I pay for this free service.

What is the price of these social media applications? Is it our privacy? Do these apps essentially own us? One may say, if we are willing to post, we are allowing permission for it to be accessed by anyone and that it includes advertisers. I am thinking there is no quick solution to this privacy issue. I can’t help but think this may all be solved if these applications had a pop-up when they were to access your information for advertising reasons which said “Can we access this information?”, in a similar way that certain apps ask to use your location.

Hopefully there is some solution to ease the outrage of many of Instagram’s users. But for now I will not hesitate to post a photo of my deliciously looking salad I made for lunch today.

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