Social Media

How Instagram's New Terms Ignited a PR Debacle

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This week's need-to-know social-media news.

Instagram's latest move was a bridge too far. The company announced this week that a new privacy policy and terms of service agreement would take effect on January 16. Buried in the documents was legalese allowing Instagram to sell your photos -- not to mention your own likeness -- to advertisers without notifying or paying you.

This move could have turned Instagram into the world's largest stock photo library, and a potential cash cow for its parent company, Facebook. Many users and major brands who were lulled into a false sense of security by Instagram's free service, clean interface and Twitter integration felt buyer's remorse -- or whatever you'd call the remorse of a free app user -- and canceled or suspended their accounts.

Before deleting your Instagram account in a fit of anger, try downloading your photos to your hard drive with Instaport and re-upload them elsewhere. Better yet, Instagram has seemingly bowed to user outrage and agreed to remove the offending passages from its terms of service to clarify that users own the rights to their own photos. -- CNET, Wired and SocialTimes

Starbucks' Twitter hashtag campaign hijacked.

The global coffee franchise became the latest company to watch a marketing idea fail, after it chose to display live tweets featuring the #spreadthecheer hashtag on a large screen outside London's Natural History Museum. Starbucks haters promptly took over the hashtag, referencing a U.K. tax controversy in tweets such as, "I like buying coffee that tastes nice from a shop that pays tax. So I avoid @starbucks #spreadthecheer." Lesson: negative feedback is part of life and business, so don't give your critics a platform to embarrass you. -- The Consumerist

Get ready for video ads in your Facebook News Feed.
By next April, video ads are expected to begin appearing in your Facebook News Feed on both desktop and mobile versions of the social network. Business owners should take note: These new ads -- which industry executives believe will play automatically -- could be an effective way to reach customers. Facebook users now number more than one billion worldwide. -- AdAge

You'll soon be able to download your entire Twitter history.
Can't remember all those great tweets your company sent months and months ago? No problem. Over the coming months, Twitter will be rolling out a new feature allowing you to download a searchable archive of all your tweets. Such an archive could be a useful analytics resource, allowing you to study which of your tweets have been most engaging and look for patterns. -- The Verge

Social media: like a controlled substance.
A recent study of social-media use has led to shocking revelations, including how, for many, resisting the urge to use social media is more difficult than resisting more natural, critical urges, such as eating food. Apparently it's the dopamine release triggered by sharing about ourselves online that keeps us coming back. -- Mashable

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