There have been many column inches given over to the changes announced by Facebook to the T&Cs for Instagram. Having paid ~$1Bn for Instagram, Facebook is obviously keen to leverage the synergies and find a way of monetizing their new acquisition.
In their move towards these goals, what they seem to have miscalculated is that in approaching it in such a wide manner (some would say clumsy) they have shot themselves in the foot. Facebook and Instagram’s value is in their userbases. Lose users it diminishes their value. It is even more likely that anyone who creates content of value using Instagram will be quicker to move to protect their content, hence, they may have shot themselves in both feet.
Increasingly, in B2B transactions, relationship and trust are seen as powerful elements of creating a successful and mutually value adding propositions. Often it is trust built from a relationship between people and organisations that allow parties with differing desired outcomes to co-exist and benefit within a business model.
If we look at the recently published ‘2012 Top Terms in Negotiation‘ then we see that Data Protection/Security, and Intellectual Property remain in the top 10. We also see that there is a trend of increasing importance of terms in the areas of: Rights of Use, Information Access and Management, and Responsibilities of the Parties.
This is no different in the B2C space where often T&Cs are all but imposed by the dominant party (usually the business). Often these T&Cs are accepted by the consumer as they have no option if they want to access the services, however, increasingly we are seeing consumers collectively pushing back, particularly in cases such as with Facebook/Instagram.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has ‘tweaked’ its T&Cs in relation to privacy and each time it has met the same backlash, so it will have seen this coming and if not they it really should have. Whilst Facebook has been in the ascendancy it has largely been able to get away with such a broad brush and one sided approach to changes. As it reaches a more mature phase and has to try and keep user churn under control it may have to think a bit harder about these changes.
It is only time before users lose trust with a company that has a consistently one sided approach. Such an approach will likely then lead to undermining trust and reputation and often an opportunity for a competitor. Facebook also needs to remember that it is now publicly listed and therefore issues of reputation can and often do impact the stock price.