Rambling Dispatches: Instagram


Each week in Rambling Dispatches, resident malcontent Quinn McGee rants about whatever he damn well pleases.

If Facebook is one thing, it’s a constant source of people posting things that they think are informative and helpful, but in all actuality they have no idea what they’re talking about. This has been even clearer recently, since I feel like I can’t escape the countless arguments on my news feed. One of the big topics I’ve been hearing about all over social media is how Instagram now has the right to use the pictures you take for anything they want, without your consent. This whole fiasco follows the wave of people posting a fancy message full of legal jargon that they thought was going to stop Facebook from using the information posted by users of the site for their own reasons.

Guess what? That fancy bullshit did nothing, because a simple read-through of the usage agreement showed that Facebook owns your dumb posts about doing laundry and the time your cat vomited up Skittles. But as we lemmings on Facebook are, we all posted this stupid post saying that our dumb posts and pictures are copyrighted material for no fucking reason. Why do you want to own your comments and posts? Chances are they’re not good enough to be worth anything in the first place. If they were, why are you still posting shit on Facebook and trying to drum up reactions from what few followers you have? Go out and do something with these obvious gems that you’re trying so hard to copyright, so the big bad Facebook can’t have them.

While I could talk all day about these Facebook outrages, the real reason for this article is the whole mess of angry people setting their sights at yet another social media darling in Instagram. If you haven’t heard about what’s going on, you don’t use Facebook or Instagram and this doesn’t concern you at all. (I think that constitutes maybe 1% of the world.) Anyway, the word on the street is that Instagram is going to take ownership of all the material posted on and through Instagram, and use it as they see fit. I personally don’t use Instagram because I hardly take pictures, and when I do I prefer them to not look like I shot them through a hipster’s asshole. This doesn’t really apply to me, I guess, but I do have some thoughts.

First off, I love how surprised everyone was when they heard about this. People were shocked, and wondered how Instagram could betray us so. I wasn’t surprised, because Instagram is owned by Facebook. Who could’ve expected that a company owned by Facebook would make the same type of shady legal move that Facebook did? Only a wizard could’ve seen this coming. I honestly assumed that pictures through Instagram were fair game when Facebook came out and did what they did, because they are so intertwined.

Second, and again, I have to ask what exactly of value do the users of Instagram have that they should have copyrights and full ownership over? Do you think that Instagram is going to make a killing off of your personal food log and the horrible amateur bikini mirror shots? Instagram isn’t going to make money off of shit. Again, any photographer worth their salt wouldn’t use Instagram, since it applies the dirty camera lens filter on every fucking thing. If you’re super attractive, chances are you’re already being used without your knowledge. Ever heard of “save picture as…”? If you’ve ever posted a picture on Facebook from a source anywhere on the internet, you used it without asking by taking advantage of the pirating software included on every computer in existence. (We should sue all computers because they also save a copy of all the pictures they see in temporary files without your knowledge, making you a criminal by proxy.)

What do people say to defend the use of these pictures in blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (which is a music site now?) and all other sites? “Well, I got the pictures from the internet, they’re just there to use, right?” That’s the same as you posting shit through Instagram and Facebook. You posted shit, and people used it because it was on the internet. That’s how it works.

I’ve written about how I don’t agree with paparazzi taking pictures of celebrities when they’re not at their best, or topless, or whatever. And when celebrities fight or sue the people who took the pictures and used them, I can’t side with the celebrities enough. Those pictures are being taken without consent, and are an absolute invasion of privacy. Taking the pictures yourself and putting them up for the world to see is not an invasion of your privacy or violation of anything. It’s you opening the door and getting mad at people for walking inside. It’s not an invasion if you allow the access.

Sure, I believe in protection of privacy, but there comes a limit. Let’s talk in hypotheticals here. Say someone taking dick pics of me when I’m sleeping and unable to strike a flattering pose is an invasion of my privacy. (I don’t take dick pics, so don’t ask me.) If I did this and shared them with the world through a website, then I can’t say shit if that site wants to put it in a picture frame display. I’d have no rights. So I say this to all of you, just stop complaining. You don’t produce anything worth any real amount of money, and if you have some really foul stuff on your Facebook or Instagram, then I guess it’s time for the world to see just how horrible of a human being you are.