Instagram released new privacy policies, but retracted them when users expressed unhappiness on social media sites.

There’s been a substantial amount of buzz this month surrounding Instagram, the photo-sharing social media platform which has gained popularity in the past year, as the company recently announced a new privacy policy. Brafton reported that these new guidelines would help Instagram share information with Facebook, which purchased the platform in April 2012, but the new policy sent some users running for the hills.

Although Instagram said that its new terms of use would help prevent spam and abuse, the guidelines left users confused about whether or not they would own their photos. When Instagram announced that it could sell users’ photographs, many vowed to stop using the mobile application, replacing it with Twitter’s new picture filters.

News stories and Tweets surrounding Instagram

According to Econsultancy, there was a large amount of news stories circulating between December 14 and December 21 surrounding Instagram. The news source analyzed these headlines on Twitter to find that the policy change generated a substantial amount of discussion. Instagram, The New York Times, the NBA, Mashable and Tony Hawk all weighed in with their opinions on Instagram’s change.Topics timeline for Instagram

Instagram’s response to social media feedback

Amazingly, Instagram responded to the unhappy panderings of its users, rather than acting as an overlord.  The social media platform announced that it was reverting to its original policy on its blog, based on user feedback. Kevin Systrom, cofounder of Instagram, wrote that the company would continue to think about its advertising plan and release new details in the near future.The social 

“You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos- you do.” Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram said in his blog post.

What are the takeaways for marketers?

Marketers should carefully track Instagram use as the platform announces policy changes that alienate users, but should also note the impact of social media discussions on decision-making. Although generating custom content for Instagram has been helpful in promoting brand awareness, marketers may need to be comfortable with sacrificing control over branded photos in the name of increased visibility.

Emma Siemasko is a former member of Brafton's editorial team. Emma has experience with blogging, travel writing, industry news, SEO and content marketing. She used to live in South Korea, where she mastered the art of using metal chopsticks.