If you’re a lawyer today, you just learned that bad things happen when a hint of clear language invites non-lawyers to read your work. And you’ll react in one of two ways: you’ll either make your contracts so confusing and impenetrable that no one will read them, or you’ll make them so “friendly” and “fun” that no one will read them correctly. Come give me a hug, your contracts with the public will say. Do not mind that I am ruthlessly picking your pockets to sell targeting data to advertisers.
This is lame and disingenuous. The real lesson of course is that terms of service matter. This was highlighted with the recent Instagram change as they flipped from terrible to really bad and now have reverted to terrible.
But rather than call that out and continue to put pressure on Instagram to clarify the position this article basically says “shame on you for getting upset about this at all”. Instagram should simply state in the ToS “we won’t sell your photos or metadata for third-party ads”. Or even better “we will with your permission sell them and give you a cut”.
Maybe the correct headline should be “Read the damn TOS the first time and accept that a free service can’t be free”. That’s the real lesson and one we all seem to forget over and over. For me, my photos are back on Flickr. Which I pay for. Next up will no doubt be a discussion about how Tumblr plans to pay for this service I am blogging on. Ads aren’t always bad; we’ve had a fairly steady truce with Google and Gmail for years.
But let’s not get all prissy and hipster and have an Instagram backlash backlash just cause everyone else just arrived at the backlash.