Notable things: How do ToS changes apply to celebrities? Music writing is often very silly; there’s a lot of heavy lifting behind each Netflix stream

Instagram’s new privacy policy and terms of service (ToS) are getting the Interweb all riled up. It’s yet another example of a popular service challenging the patience of its community.

I don’t have an issue with Instagram or any service pushing the limits. My sense is that most ToS changes are public betas — if enough people cry “outrage!”, the company revises the offensive bit and carries on with the rest.

That said, there’s a part of Instagram’s new ToS that’s pretty damn brazen. From the New York Times:

A section of the new terms of service, titled “Rights,” notes that Instagram will also be able to use your photographs and identity in advertisements. “You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” the new terms say. This means that photographs uploaded to Instagram could end up in an advertisement on the service or on Facebook. In addition, someone who doesn’t use Instagram could end up in an advertisement if they have their photograph snapped and shared on the service by a friend.

Wil Wheaton raises an interesting point about how this Instagram ad business applies to celebrity users:

Here’s what I’m wondering: if Kaley Cuoco uses Instagram to share a photo of her and Melissa Rauch doing something silly, does that mean that Instagram can take that photo and use it to advertise for something silly without compensating them for what becomes a use of their likeness for commercial purposes? I can see that being a pretty serious shitstorm if it happens.

The celebrity angle is fascinating. These folks spend their days managing their images and privacy in ways regular people don’t. So what happens when a service catches celebrities in their restrictive ToS nets? Will a savvy celeb enlist his/her lawyers and publicists to take the service to task? Will that sort of notoriety elevate ToS changes — which happen all the time — beyond the domain of tech writers?

Instagram addressed some of the ToS concerns in a blog post. Here’s what they had to say about the advertising segment:

The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time. [Emphasis added.]

Looks like Instagram won’t be the battleground for a celebrities vs platforms fight. Nonetheless, the central issue stands. The push and pull between users and online services will eventually raise the ire of a user who has a big, broad, everyone-knows-them platform.


It’s impossible to write about popular music without sounding pretentious or insane.

Here’s an example from Grantland’s “Songs of the Year 2012” collection (the song in question is “Pop That“):

The backing track’s a bucket of bottle-service ice down your neck, with 101 synth strings going psycho killer/Norman Bates, relentless tick-tock percussion, and a hectoring sample of Uncle Luke badgering strippers to drop and give him 20, all of it borderline funkless and yet as relentless and undeniable in its air-raid intensity as “Beat on the Brat” or “Night on Bald Mountain” or “Hava Nagila.” This aggro not-safe-for-twerk Ciroc commercial/sack of super-expensive hammers was a hit record? People listened to this for fun and/or while having it? 2012, you were super-weird!

My response:


Wow. These stills are from a fascinating Netflix video (embedded below):

Netflix: How many different downloadables are prepared for a single movie?

Netflix: 120 per movie

Here’s the video:

Via GigaOm.