Instagram is the popular photo editing and sharing app that iPhone users have enjoyed for some years now. Instagram allows its users to create different and unique filters, shades, borders etc for its photo albums and consequently allows users to share their creativity with others on the Instagram network or upload to social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc. Not only has it retained popularity for being a fun app but for also providing a secure place to display edited photographs.
Finally, last week the app opened its doors for Android users as well. Before, Android users would use alternative apps which were as good but not nearly as well known. But the Android version of Instagram does not contain all the features that the iOS systems do. Also, with Instagram working on the Android platform, the community of sharers is supposed to increase.
Facebook enters the equation
Just when the iOS and Android user community was merging through Instagram, Facebook announced that it had bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Now perhaps this was inevitable seeing as how the social media demigod leaves very little overlooked in the world of technology, but nonetheless a wave of skepticism can be felt sweeping across the Instagram user community. Facebook is already known for its lack of respect for privacy and now the same association is already making way with Instagram.
It is feared that photos uploaded will no longer remain private. And the worry is not restricted to some few individuals or groups. Instagram reports that last year alone it received some 150 million photos from its users on its servers. This makes the fear even more pronounced. As if spy apps for Android and iOS weren’t enough of a threat, now Instagram by Facebook for Android and iOS holds the possibility of becoming the next cell phone monitoring app.
Statement and reactions
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s official statement is that Instagram will remain an independent community. But that seems highly unlikely. The most we can digest is that perhaps Instagram will become a facebook satellite hovering around the photo app user community. But rumours are running like wildfire as to what the fate of Instagram will truly be and moreso, what will become of the photos shared on it under its new ownership.
Some speculations are that Facebook will use this app as mobile spyware and employ facial recognition apps to identify and investigate its users. Others are that photos will be closely monitored and data collected from them will be forwarded to advertisers, businesses, and intelligences. Geo-tagging feature on photos can also arise which potentially compromise user safety. The list of fears goes on but you can imagine the direction the rest are taking.
What the stats say
Despite the numerous blogs, articles, user posts and altogether voiced opinions on the matter by long and short term Instagram users, Instagrams popularity seems to have not suffered in the least. On the contrary, its users are growing. Within ten days Instagram downloads have gone from 30 million to 40 million.
At the same time, many users have allegedly quit Instagram as a sign of privacy concerns. The exact number is unclear but Instaport, an alternate app to Instagram reports that a large number of users showed up once the announcement of Facebook’s takeover of Instagram was made.
Instagram users are now faced with a choice. Either they can quit Instagram or they can remain onboard for the new regime. Those who are very security conscious are in no means a rut. They can use apps such as the InstaBackup app to remove their photos from Instagram servers before they leave the app if they so wish. Now what to do remains the user’s choice.