The power really does belong to the people.
At least, that's what Instagram found out this week. After receiving a wave of criticism from its users for changing its service terms (a change which some users thought their photos could be sold without permission or payment), Instagram announced yesterday that it would temporarily hold off on the alteration.
In a company blog post titled "Updated Terms of Service Based on Your Feedback," Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom acknowledged his users' discontent with the advertising policy change. He wrote:
Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010…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.
While Instagram's counteraction is a significant win for consumers, it's not the first.
Here are some other famous policy reversals forced by consumer outrage:
1. Netflix endured some serious backlash last year when it planned to raise its subscription fees by $6 without making a single service upgrade. Criticism from consumers and the media grew so strong that the company backed away from its decision.
2. Kickstarter received some major flack earlier this year when its crowd-funded projects, like watchmaker Pebble, didn't deliver promised goods to their backers. With customers sending an increasing amount of complaints and demands that Kickstarter do something, the company was forced to re-word its guidelines.
In the infamous blog post by Kickstarter co-founders Charles Adler, Perry Chen, and Yancey Strickler, the company officially announced, "We're not a store." With that change in direction, Kickstarter entrepreneurs were no longer able to offer their developing items as a reward for backers (like Pebble and its watches).
3. When Apple Maps launched in September, users immediately reported glitches, incorrect directions, and landscape distortions. The media quickly considered the launch a disaster. The surge of bad press prompted a public apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook. Not long after, Apple Maps product manager left the company, and soon after that Apple anounced that the formerly-discontinued Google Maps app was again available for iPhones.