Online privacy and service agreements should sound like what they mean
Instagram, the phone app that lets you take pictures, apply artsy filters and then share them, is huge. So huge that in 2012 Facebook bought it for $1 billion.
The backlash was swift and vicious. Bloggers heaped disdain. People quit Instagram en masse. Lawyers filed a class-action suit.
The CEO of Instagram sheepishly apologized, reinstated the older agreement and explained: “Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did.” He had also remarked that “legal documents are easy to misinterpret.”
Yes, apparently they are. Instagram was hardly the first Web company to publish appallingly rapacious, tone-deaf terms of service, trigger a public revolt, and then backpedal and apologize.