Instagram backpedals, Facebook privacy gets simpler, and Poke is still a thing | This Week in Social Media

Instagram reverts to former terms of use

After users balked at changes to Instagram’s privacy policy that would potentially allow for user data and photos to be accessed by partner companies for use in ads, co-founder Kevin Systrom announced that Instagram will revert to their previous policy effective January 19.

Some big names, including National Geographic, were among users who boycotted the service in response to the policy change, which many felt left the door open for Instagram or parent-company Facebook to sell users’ photos. One user went so far as to file a class-action lawsuit against Instagram in response to the changes.

In a post on the Instagram blog, Systrom wrote:

“Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”

Facebook breaks down privacy settings

Recently rolled-out privacy control shortcuts are intended to help users navigate the increasingly intricate settings by breaking them down into three categories: who can view your content, who can contact you, and how to block abusive users. A new icon next to the settings menu directs to the most commonly used controls which were previously difficult for some users to find.

The new approach is part of a network-wide effort to use more “plain English” in instructions to clarify how settings function. Still don’t have your privacy settings all figured out? Don’t feel too bad, even Randi Zuckerberg can get confused.

Facebook Poke App

Facebook Pokes can’t self-destruct fast enough

In an attempt to compete with the popularity of SnapChat, Facebook recently launched a mobile app based on the network’s oft-maligned “poke” feature. Like SnapChat, Facebook Poke delivers photos and videos that automatically delete shortly after they’re received, giving both apps a reputation for specializing in the kinds of messages that, well, you wouldn’t want a record of.

So it’s no surprise users were concerned when they found out their messages may be hanging around longer than they thought—up to 90 days, in fact. Facebook claims that while the messages may be archived for a period of time—typically two days for abuse-reporting purposes — before they are permanently deleted, users cannot access the information. Meanwhile, some tech-savvy users have been finding new ways to get around app settings that prevent recipients from saving messages by using secondary applications to save the files from their phone to a computer.