Instagram or Instascam? Before you delete, consider this…

In yesterday’s post, Think like a scientist – experiment with your members, I revealed the results of a test campaign I did on Instagram. However, with the recent controversy over Instagram’s new terms of use, which will take effect on January 17, many users are trying to determine what the privacy risks are for continuing to use the popular photo-sharing service – or wondering whether to delete their accounts for good.

Here’s my take on it: privacy laws are constantly changing with these social networks. If we want to use their free services, then it’s our responsibility as consumers to educate ourselves before choosing to join (or remain on) any particular social network.

How will it affect business accounts? Those who are participating within a community on Instagram are already members of Instagram and have their own profiles; as informed consumers, they must choose whether they wish to continue their presence. They have until January 17 to delete their accounts or live by the new privacy policy and terms of use.

While I do agree that Instagram is pushing the envelope, from what I’ve read most of it is due to the lawsuit that their parent company Facebook was slapped with. In fact, it sounds like the backlash from the Instagram community has already caused Instagram to rethink its privacy policy within the last 48 hours or so. Here’s to those who made their voices heard!

Here’s an interesting article from Slate on the various terms of service for different social networks.

So, I would suggest putting a hold on any Instagram campaigns for the next couple of weeks (over the holidays), while we wait to see exactly how the backlash pushes Instagram to rework its terms of use language. Bottom line: I don’t think you have to delete your accounts just yet!

And for those who are looking for an alternative? Check out Ernie Smith’s Associations Now article on some other Instagram-like apps worth checking out.