Instagram's poorly executed update won't win back users


By Dan Grech, Marketing Consultant

January 16, 2013 | 3 min read

Yesterday, Instagram chose to remind users of the new privacy policy that is to come into effect 19th Jan.

The initial changes to their privacy policy caused a hell-storm, from the media to the celebrity world. It was reported yesterday that active users have halved as a result of this announcement.

Instagram sent this plain text email:

Instagram Update

Our community has grown by many millions of people since we wrote our original terms of service and privacy policy. As we announced in December, we have updated our terms of service and privacy policy. These policies also now take into account the feedback we received from the Instagram community. We’re emailing you to remind you that, as we announced last month, these updated policies will be in effect as of Jan. 19.

You can read our blog post that highlights some of the key updates. And remember, these updates don’t change the fact that you own your photos that you post on Instagram, and our privacy controls work just as they did before.

Whether this was intended to reassure those who missed the retraction some days after or to negate further criticism from those who have lost their trust in the application I'm unsure (probably both). However, I feel as though this is a poorly executed update and it won't win back a large number of users.

The story doesn't seem to move on from the news of the privacy policy, but seems to dwell on what areas caused concern, resulting in the mass-exodus of users over the past month.

A plain text email is the right medium when communicating a service update as it ensures a maximum reach, but more creative measures could have been taken to dress this reminder up.

It could be the case that they feel their integrity is so far gone that clarity was more important. I'm certain most people who have decided to abandon the service have done so already.

Perhaps once Instagram initiates these terms they will be able to work on more creative solutions to engage with users. I'm sure the update was meant to achieve in the first place.

Has this announcement reassured you that your photos are in safe hands? Or do you think that this has been blown out of proportion? I'd be interested to hear from you.

Follow Dan on twitter @dangrech.


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