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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Report: Facebook Responds to Instagram Anger

Concerns have been mounting on social networks this week as Instagram users reacted to the coming changes, part of a push by Facebook, which bought Instagram this year, to make money from the service.

On Tuesday evening, the complaints, which included angry Twitter posts and images on Instagram protesting the changes, prompted action. Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, wrote a blog post that the company would change the new terms of service to make clearer what would happen to users' pictures, reports Jenna Wortham of The New York Times..

“We've heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean,” he wrote. “I'm writing this today to let you know we're listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes and eliminate the confusion.”

Eric Goldman, an associate professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, said the latest skirmish between Facebook and its users was part of the sometimes uncomfortable dynamic between companies offering free online services and their eventual need to turn a profit from them.

“The interest of the site is never 100 percent aligned with the users, and the divergence inevitably leads to friction,” Mr. Goldman said. “It's unavoidable.”

Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, said worries about Facebook changing for the worse had become common almost any time Facebook altered its site, whether in the design or in its privacy policies. It underscores the importance and omnipotence of the service in its users' lives as much as it signals a distrust of Facebook.

“There's always a reaction when Facebook does anything because the user ba se is so unbelievably large,” Ms. Lieb said. “But while what its users say can be very loud and very viral, what they do can be two very disparate things.”