Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram doesn’t seem to sit well with many of the photo-sharing network’s users.
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Right after the announcement, hash tags like #Instablack and #RIPInstagram were shared on Instagram itself, complete with photos carrying messages disapproving of the deal. The same dissatisfaction has been seen on Twitter, and numerous blogs have protested by recommending alternative apps and ways to export photos from Instagram.
Criticism is inevitable whenever a popular service makes drastic change. And though users revolted against Facebook’s Timeline, they still use the social network day and night. As of now, the anti-acquisition hash tags about Instagram have less than 2,000 photos each, a small percentage compared to the more than 30 million users the service has.
Why Are Users Against the Acquisition?
Facebook haters are everywhere. Many of them are ex-Facebook users seeking refuge on smaller networks such as Diaspora, Path — and Instagram. They tried hard to escape Facebook’s claw, but as evident, it can be difficult to get away.
As innocent as Instagram photos might be, they are valuable to companies that can study them and put them to use — like Facebook. Facebook already has a database of your friends, and with its facial recognition technology it can identify the people in your photos. If you’ve geo-tagged them, it’ll also know where you took them. I’m not saying that Facebook will inspect everyone’s data the moment the acquisition is complete, but it sure has the capability.
Another concern is advertising. As they say, if you are not paying for it, you are the product. Instagram has been a free app since its inception two years ago, and the company hasn’t implemented any plan for financial gain. Users are worried that Facebook might attempt to recoup its investment by implementing ads on the app, rendering the creativity and aesthetic-focused product uninspiring.
Lastly, users are worried that Facebook will automatically post their Instagram photos on the social network, or integrate both services in such a way that Instagram will lose its identity.
The concerns are valid, but Mark Zuckerberg’s post on the acquisition made clear that Instagram will be developed independently, the brand is here to stay, users can still post their photos on rival social networks, opt not to share Instagram photos on Facebook, and keep their connections on Instagram separate from Facebook friends.
In other words, everything will remain the same, at least superficially. But the fact that Facebook is now the company behind Instagram will be unsettling to those who are wary of the social networking giant.