Instagram retreats from policy changes

The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone on December 20, 2012 in Paris.

The photo sharing app Instagram got a lot of heat earlier this week when it released a new privacy policy. Well, now it says, it's reversing course and will go back to its old policy.

These reversals aren't uncommon as tech companies tread new ground in trying to balance privacy concerns with the quest to make money, said Noah Elkin, an analyst at eMarketer. He adds, the reversals often come when users cry that the company has gone too far. 

"I've seen reports that indicate that some consumers are fleeing for competing services," said Elkin

Flickr was one of several photo-sharing companies that saw downloads for its app skyrocket. Instagram promised that in the future, it'll be more clear about how it intends to use photos in its effort to make money. 

But this this kind of about-face is not unprecedented. Elkin says last year Netflix made a similar move when it tried to create a new business model.  

"Netflix was trying to move away from a model of shipping DVD's and more toward a streaming model," Elkin says. And when the company tried to make users pay for the services separately, they cried foul and Netflix retreated.   

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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