Instagram reverses policy, but users still leaving

When popular photo app Instagram announced last week that it claimed ownership of all of the photos uploaded to it by users and would freely offer them to advertisers, the Web went up in arms with the story (often with the meme “All your photos are belong to us”) almost trumping the national tragedy that happened in Connecticut.

The backlash caused Facebook (who owns Instagram) and the photo app makers themselves to quickly capitulate and change their tune, reversing their stance.  The reversal, however, was not complete, as a New York Times blog post points out, and many of the users who said they were going to leave are doing so anyway.

A look at Twitter or Facebook posts on the trend shows that these users are of the mind that once the line is crossed, there’s no turning back.  “What’s to say they won’t do it again later” One user asked, to which many responded in kind.

Although 2012 was a pretty contentious year online, it could be that this Instagram debacle will be considered its worst.  At the very least, it’s a heck of a way to end out the year on a sour note.

Sooner or later, app makers will have to realize that there are places you don’t want to go with your users.  Blatantly telling them you’re going to take their data – content that was freely given on the assumption that it was safe – is definitely not a good way to build customer loyalty.

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