Instagram didn’t get the tone wrong

Asbury & Asbury:

But there’s a writing angle to the whole thing that needs some airing. The whole story is already being co-opted as a case study in the importance of clear communication and getting the tone right. This worries me, because that’s exactly what it isn’t, at least not in the way that’s being suggested.

A writerly breakdown of Instagram’s recent communications that should give pause to anyone watching this story.



  • tylernol

    their new TOS were pretty easy to interpret. Their “clarification” tries to muddy the waters a bit. I do not want my photos used to advertise places unless I asked,credited, and paid. And I am a bit tired of advertising shoved in my face everywhere. I would rather pay for a service.

  • http://twitter.com/holaMau Mau Sandoval 

    The fact that they want to pretend their users are stupid for not understanding and misinterpreting their legalese is nothing short of being jerks.

  • Steven Fisher

    I can think of at least one way where the offending paragraph could mean something entirely different than what it says: If they’re talking about targeted advertising, where your photos, username are displayed as advertising TO YOU. Perhaps that’s the ambiguity they’re referring to.

    I know this is a stretch. Generally, I think it’s better to attribute errors to incompetence or apathy rather than malice. The days ahead will be the proof.

  • T_Will

    I love how people use the excuse of misinterpretation when there is no other possible way to interpret the meaning.