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No Matter How Big You Get, You’re Still Accountable

Scott Monty is no slouch. He’s the global head of social media at Ford Motor Company, and checking out his personal blog is the easiest way to get some insight into how the world of social media works.

Monty wrote an article about the the out-lash Instagram received after changing the wording in their privacy policy and terms of use.

The short version is simple:

Instagram gave its users the idea that it would be using their photographs for advertising without compensating them in any way. And the response from its users was a unanimous “Awww, heck no!” The anti-tin-foil-hat truth is, the language used in the changes was not much (if any) different than the other major social media sites. They can’t sell your photos outright. However, Instagram and its affiliates responded to maintain accountability for their actions.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated,

It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear. To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

After careful consideration of the opinions and feelings of its user base, Instagram’s Systrom updated their blog days later,

Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.

Like ’em, hate ’em, or indifferent, the company has at least let its users know that they are listening to feedback, and are continuing to find a middle ground that suits both parties’ interests. These actions confirm; no matter how big you get, you’re still accountable.