Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Instagram, Facebook deal sparks privacy and quality concerns: Here's how to quit

Ed Oswald, Matt Peckham, Sarah Jacobsson Purewal and Alex Wawro | April 13, 2012
It's been a rough week for Instagram purists.

It's been a rough week for Instagram purists.

Last Tuesday the popular photo-sharing app debuted on Android, opening the once iPhone-only Instagram service to the Android masses. And then on Monday, Facebook announced that it was acquiring Instagram for $1 billion--raising worries among some about what the new overlord's intentions might be.

Many have voiced fears that their community is being overrun by newbies and are inclined to assume the worst when it comes to the ability to control their images and privacy once Facebook takes over. Instagram said last year that it has 150 million user-submitted photos on its servers.

"I liked #instagram when it was stupid pictures and filters, not a #Facebook data collector -- so I've quit. I'll miss it," tweeted @manandultraman.

The good news for the disgruntled is that plenty of Instagram-alternative services are available, and while Instagram doesn't itself offer a way to ditch it and take your image library with you, that's not hard to do. A cadre of third-party services (Copygram, InstaBackup, and Instaport) allow you part ways with Instagram and take all your funky pictures. Skip to the bottom and we'll show you how they work.

Instagram Backlash

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stresses that Instagram will stay independent, but his reassuring words are doing little to stop people from thinking of the formerly indie app as a sellout.

For those with a propensity toward paranoia, the Facebooking of Instagram raises questions about what Facebook could do with their catalog of images once it gets its paws on them.

* Will Facebook run facial recognition software against them, use images to link them to other people without consent, and share images with businesses?

And what about user data?

* Will Facebook snarf up all the information you've shared about yourself and friends with Instagram? * Will Facebook start geo-tagging Instagram images automatically--something Instagram doesn't do?

Instagram hasn't changed an iota since the announcement, and if Facebook has plans to tweak the service, it isn't sharing them. Neither has Facebook said anything about its plans to capitalize on its purchase--Instagram has no revenue to speak of.

Is the Backlash Real or Imagined?

Despite nasty tirades from longtime Instagram users on Twitter and other sites, Instagram's popularity is skyrocketing. In the past 6 days, Instagram has racked up 5 million downloads, bringing the total number of users to 35 million.

How many have shut down their Instagram accounts in protest? Instagram isn't saying. Services that allow you to backup your Instagram library of retro, inkwell, and tilt/shift images won't give specifics when asked how many new users they have. The backup service Instaport would only say a "huge" number of people used its service the day Facebook said it would buy Instagram.


1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.