Dissemble-gram

It's great that Facebook is going to re-think the changes it tried to slip past Instagram users (who knew the NY Times Bits Blog would be laying in wait, ready to bust 'em?).

Though it's disappointing that Kevin Systrom was reduced to dissembling. 

Dissemble-gramAs a piece of anonymous corporate PR damage control, his Tumblr post yesterday is okay. But when one puts one's personal name on a piece of writing - that throws bullshit into high relief.

It is not credible to say that "One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns." 

If you visit the page http://instagram.com/about/legal/terms/updated/, you'll find the first two sentences read as follows: “These Terms of Use are effective on January 16, 2013. To access our previous Terms of Use, please click here.” No suggestion that the terms are proposed, subject to revision, or in any way represent a trial balloon. The second sentence implies that the new terms are a done deal, set and ready to take place among the archive of terms that had been deployed.

A more plausible "main reason" for the thirty day notice of changes may well be the FTC consent order to which Facebook is subject.

Key parts of that consent order apply to actions Facebook takes "through any corporation, subsidiary, division, website, or other device." Because the consent order says users must be told about what Facebook does with user's "covered information" and because photos are included in the definition of "covered information," notice of material changes to Instagram's policies, after the fact, could conceivably have put Facebook in violation of its agreement with the FTC.


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