The past few years have made it abundantly clear that platforms hold disproportionate power in the online sphere – from Uber to Grubhub to Amazon. Online success is predicated on building both utility as well as a critical mass of users, and for that, platforms should be congratulated.
Since 2003, the popular photo hosting service Photobucket has been letting users upload and host images for free on their servers. They have over 10 billion images stored by 100 million registered users. But now they're going to start charging, and that means billions of images around the Web are now broken.
Social media have so thoroughly infused our everyday lives that calling them “ubiquitous” seems inadequate. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and others take up an astonishing amount of our time, bandwidth, and attention, and have become indispensable business and marketing tools as well.
If you had any doubts regarding how much of a part of our culture Instagram has become, just take a peek at the public outcry that erupted after Instagram announced changes to its policies yesterday. The controversial edits were reported in media outlets around the world, and legions of die-hard Instagram fans took to social media channels to protest them.
People mainly focused on a section of the document that appears to give Instagram sweeping permissions to sell photos without consent or compensation to third-parties for advertising purposes.
John Herrman over at BuzzFeed has written up an interesting piece on how and why "grabby" terms of service have become ubiquitous in the online world of social media: