In the wake of the epic stories surrounding the inimitable Facebook and its latest acquisition, Instagram, one has to wonder how many more questionable actions can manifest from the camp of the social media giant. I, am of course referring to the squawking over the TOS back in December. This could spell long-term PR trouble. What exactly is Facebook doing?
Let’s get the facts straight. Instagram may still be having issues, what with its public traffic data being ripped from public view recently. But the company has apparently stemmed the flow of angry users fleeing the site like a burning building.However sometimes, it’s too little too late, as it’s been?widely?noted that 25% of the active user base was lost in the aftermath.?Instagram backpedaled on the issue, saying, “It would not sell members’ photos”. This was followed closely by a quote from the company,?”that statement is not authorized for publication.”?O rly, Instagram? There’s no sense of irony in that statement!
This overarching argument about data and its right to be withheld or published, is a longstanding argument within social media ranks that goes back almost as far as the inception of journalism itself. Facebook, and its user base, is in the midst of a cold war over the fact that deleted accounts do not mean entire removal from the site. Users are able to download their data before doing so, but there is a finite period that accounts are cached in case the user changes their mind. What happens to the data after that time? Is it sold or otherwise leveraged for private gain? Or is it truly erased from the site? Facebook has said that the nature of caching in search engines in addition to “shares” on the site makes 100% data deletion truly impossible.
Nathan is a nomadic writer who engages the intersections of technology, culture, and travel with zeal and fresh perspective. He can be followed at @truthaday.