Facebook to profit from your photos

Facebook has announced that it was start to seel your photos to advertisers- and that they will trouser the profits.Facebook has announced there would be a change to Instagram’s terms of service, including the addition of this crucial line: “You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.”

Many users are naturally outraged.

Twitter was awash with posts about deleting accounts – even Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg’s sister got on board – “liking” a post on Facebook entitled “Instagram’s suicide note”.

National Geographic magazine said it was suspending any of its new posts on the platform, saying it was “very concerned with the direction” of the new terms.

One software developer wrote that a “translation” of the new terms should be: “You are not our customers, you are the cattle we drive to market and auction off to the highest bidder. Enjoy your feed and keep producing the milk.”

But Facebook has defended itself, moving swiftly to dispel fears that it wants to sell users’ pictures.

But has long term damage to how users feel about Instagram already been done?

Facebook would not comment on how many users Instagram had lost since the debacle began.

Nor was it clear precisely how many jumped ship to rival offerings. Many users suggested moving over (or rather back to) Flickr – which coincidentally launched its own Instagram-like app last week.

Another service, Starmatic, was even more boisterous about its success. Since launching three months ago, and despite being visually appealing, the app has struggled to build a substantial number of users.

The common gripe was that it was too similar to Instagram, but that has now proved to be a blessing – with the app’s owners having said that over one million pictures were uploaded to Starmatic in a single day, almost double the total amount posted to the service in the three months since its launch.

Not only that, the service also thinks it has got a major coup, with “superstar” Instagram user Richard Koci Hernandaz uploaded his vast archives of pictures to the service (although he is yet to delete his Instagram page).

Unlike Facebook – with its spider web of friend connections, history and data – a simpler site like Instagram is much easier to give up on.

Instagram will need to learn from the last couple of days if it is to progress forward with monetisation.