Social networking giant Facebook bought social photo-sharing giant Instagram yesterday for $1 billion.
And, although Facebook users’ responses to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of the news seem mainly positive, some sites report that Instagram users are already ditching the service en masse.
In the announcement, Zuckerberg promised to focus on “building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.”
But it seems many users are more concerned over Facebook’s dubious privacy policies. They’ve tweeted messages like, “I hate Facebook and the lack of privacy now I have to remove my pics before I can’t,” referring to Facebook’s well-known policy of making it notoriously difficult to delete your account (though that’s no longer really the case).
Another Twitter user said, “You know what Instagram was missing? Ads and privacy invasions. All it took was [$]1 billion dollars to make that happen.”
Facebook’s privacy woes
Facebook’s privacy policies are constantly in flux. A major overhaul last year addressed some complaints, while a new policy introduced last month allows them to track the usage data even of users who aren’t signed up for an account.
That clause was seemingly snuck into an update meant to prevent snooping bosses from accessing employees’ profiles.\
Similar acquisitions haven’t ended well
TechRadar raised other concerns, asking whether Instagram’s future is similar to Flickr’s. That photo-sharing site was purchased by Yahoo!
in 2005, and while it doesn’t appear that Google will go the way of Yahoo!, Flickr has suffered due to its relationship with the waning company.
And, Facebook’s previous social networking acquisitions — Gowalla, Snaptu, Beluga — have all ended in the purchased services being shut down permanently.
Zuckerberg said he’s “committed to building and growing Instagram independently,” and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wrote yesterday, “The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love.”
However, despite all of those good intentions, the backlash has spurred other sites to post instructions on how to delete an Instagram account while preserving your photos, and other published reports claim that access to sites that perform that very function had slowed down yesterday due possibly to heavy use.
Facebook could change terms at any time
What’s more, experts such as the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Justin Brookman, claims that while photos and data already uploaded to Instagram remain subject to the service’s relatively sound privacy policies, “for new data posted to Instagram, Facebook can set new terms.”
Of course, this isn’t the first blow that Instagram has experienced in recent weeks. There was a significant backlash from iPhone users two weeks ago when the company released an Android version of its popular app.
Those who remain with the service will likely soon find out exactly how Facebook’s influence will affect their experiences.