So Instagram has said it has the right to sell your photos? And you can’t opt out.

There has been a lot of speculation about where this comes from but I don’t think this is an Instagram idea. This has Mark Zuckerbergs nerve and experience written all over it.

Zuck understands use cases that are beyond the earrly adopter better than most in silicon valley with the possible exception of Google. Unless we see a backdown over the next few days I find it difficult to believe the outcry will make one iota of difference.

It seems to me to be far more likely that if the press hullabuloo is distracted by any other story in the run up to Christmas, which it undoubtedly will be, then most of instagram’s considerable user base won’t even be aware that this change has happened and instagram will continue to gain users apace through the app store and other avenues.

Users won’t move from a product they like over something like this unless there is a better product. The consequences are too nebulous and too unlikely to ever personally affect the average user.

Not that I believe it is ethical or moral to do something like this. It is essentially changing the “contract” of how it works after the fact. While it is certain that this isn’t a contract in any real sense it is somewhat of a social contract and many informed users will feel betrayed.

This is the consequence of our obsession with stuff being free and an illustration of how our understanding of the world must change. You can have a free service but you won’t necessarily be consulted about change. You can have a service you have to be consulted about change in but you’ll have to pay for it. Expecting both is hopeful at best.

Facebook’s (and now Instagram’s) attitude has always seemed to be a kind of polite channelling of “BrickTop”, the eponymous east London bad guy in Guy Ritchies “Snatch”.

“Listen, you f%$*ing fringe, if I throw a dog a bone, I don’t want to know if it tastes good or not. You stop me again whilst I’m walking, and I’ll cut your f%$*ing Jacobs off.”

So enjoy the bone and shut it. Or next time be prepared to pay for one yourself.

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