Instagram And The Art Of Negotiation


Negotiation is not black and white. It’s infinite shades of gray. However, it’s incumbent upon each party in the negotiation to understand two important positions: what they want and what they are willing to do to get it. And the negotiation process is an intricate dance: you want to get the best deal you can without insulting and pissing off the other party (too much).

The dilemma in most social platforms is that only one party really understands that it’s negotiating, which makes for interesting strategy. Social photo sharing platform Instagram recently introduced a new version of their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service (TOS). The new policies were greeted with a fair amount of outrage from their user base. I would wager many of those complaining had never read the original TOS or the revised TOS, but were instead reacting to analysis they saw in the media. I would also wager that many of those complaining were doing so with incomplete or false information and analysis. After all, vetting is a skill. 

The jury is still out as to what will eventually play on social platforms as far as privacy and monetization, but only one party is really trying to figure that out: the social platforms. The users of social platforms believe they are customers but they are not. They are the product. So they don’t negotiate as the vendors they are.

Did Instragram err badly with it’s new Terms of Service (TOS)? Or did they crowd source the “line in the sand?”


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