By Michael Baker
A whole lot of people were pretty upset about the recent announcement that Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram planned to begin displaying user’s pictures in its ads; so upset that Instagram has dropped the campaign in deference to its whiny, entitled users.
Social media is an industry. Facebook reportedly paid $1 billion to acquire Instagram, and they didn’t do it because they thought the app would be so much fun for their users. That was an investment, and presumably one that Facebook would like to see pay off. How do you make a free app pay off if you can’t utilize the only commodity that it has – its user-generated content? I’m not sure that you can.
So, one of two things is going to happen. Either Instagram is going to have to start charging its users (that, presumably, would be a disaster, since anyone under the age of 25 thinks that anything on the internet needs to be free), or its going to have come up with a way of capitalizing off of users’ photos without them catching wind of it (that would also be a disaster, but only to the extent that users are paying attention). Either way, the everything for free attitude of social media users is a sepia-toned nightmare for Instagram.