Instagram turned over to enormous data mining operation

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram could have a huge impact on the photo sharing app and users “should be worried”, according to one analyst.

Mark Zuckerberg decided to get his hands on Instagram, which allows users to apply filters to pictures and post them for their followers to see. There is also the option to post these pictures onto Facebook and Twitter although this currently isn’t mandatory.

Zuckerberg offered up a cool $1 billion  – the largest ever acquisition for Facebook – for Instagram, which currently doesn’t make a profit.

Following the announcement, Instagram fans began to panic that their data and posts would no longer be private, with many looking at other free apps, including Streamzoo, to migrate to.

According to industry experts they may be justified in doing so.

Clive Longbottom, Quocirca analyst, told TechEye: “With Facebook’s track record on saying one thing around security and then either doing a different thing or changing its mind on a regular basis, I think that Instagram users should be worried.  

“It is very likely that Facebook will fully embrace Instagram, using any information it can gain from the system to further build on its own extensive intelligence on people’s likes, dislikes and habits,” he said. 

Longbottom warned that there is a reason Facebook operates on a free model, and it is no secret that the company harvests data. “If you want your adverts highly targeted, then so be it,” he said. “If you’d rather not open everything up for inspection, then you need to be careful in what systems you use and what information you make public.”

Although free services are alluring for users, they have to remember that they need business models behind them. “Facebook’s is in mining information that users put on its system and making this available to those who pay,” Longbottom said. “The advertisers and businesses looking for greater insights into user behaviour.”