“Instagram didn’t get the tone wrong”

Asbury & Asbury express(es?) exactly every single thought that went through my head when I read Instagram’s “clarification” earlier:

Again there’s that emphasis on ‘eliminating the confusion’, as though all this is down to the language being unclear. Then comes the massively patronising ‘Legal documents are easy to misinterpret’. The clear subtext is ‘You’re all getting het up because you don’t understand this complicated legal stuff – don’t worry, we’ll try and speak more slowly this time.’

The whole thing from Instagram is as condescending as anything I’ve read lately, with the added fact that there’s no ground for this condescension – no misunderstanding to correct. I’ve been the first person to roll my eyes at these “Facebook is going to ______” panics that go around every now and then. Sure, privacy is getting more and more scarce in the online world and there’s an argument to be made against that, but I think the difference between a lot of Facebook’s issues and Instagram’s latest push is one of knowing versus taking: with Facebook, my information might find its way into the hands of who knows who – but they’ve been pretty wary of crossing into the use of users’ content. With Instagram, my likeness, my art, my photos, whatever, could be used, appropriated.

And there’s no mistaking that that’s what Instagram’s privacy policy change said – it’s more crystal-clear than any of the other privacy policy scandals that have happened recently. So for the company to come out and just sneeringly say, “Look, obviously your pea-sized brains just didn’t get what we meant” … it’s so far from a good handling of a PR crisis that when it gets treated like one, I don’t even know what to think.


What do you think?

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