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Instagram Users Dismayed By Facebook Purchase

Many expressed their discontent with Facebook's purchase of Instagram.

ByABC News
April 10, 2012, 8:57 AM

April 10, 2012 — -- When 12-year-old Catherine Moorhead found out about Facebook's acquisition of Instagram she immediately texted her dad. "It ruins the purpose of Instagram! OMGosh!!!!" she typed on her iPhone.

Moorhead might be young, but she wasn't the only one typing her disapproval and sharing it with the world.

After the initial announcement on Monday of Facebook's plans to spend $1 billion on the photo-sharing site, you couldn't avoid the negative reaction on Twitter and Facebook, and even Instagram itself.

Photos of Dr. Evil were shared on the site and tons tweeted about their plans to leave Instagram. You can see a selection of the disapproving tweets on Buzzfeed and on ABC News' Facebook page.

"My whole 6th grade class is on Instagram," Moorhead told ABC News. "I think they might change it to be more like Facebook. If Facebook owns it, more people will be on it and I don't want creepy people following the kids who are on Instagram."

Some might think those child-like fears are a little extreme, but the reaction is just as strong from people five to 10 years Moorhead's senior.

"I personally feel like the North Korean army just occupied my hometown," George Ko, 18, said. "Instagram introduced many people to photography and new communities around special themes like #doorways. Apps like #hipstaroll developed in this sphere of not being forced to expose ones personal life, but one's artistry to the world. Facebook, on the other hand, is a network that was built to expose explicitly personal stuff."

Ko is joined by others on the Internet with the same pessimistic feelings, but there are those who are excited about the acquisition and the possibilities of what it could mean for both companies.

"Bigger team, bigger product. I'm just saying. And being optimistic," Jacob Alexander tweeted. "I think it's great as long as they keep it separate," Rolando Calderón expressed.

But the discontent was heard over it all, and the Facebook distrust seemed to drown out the rest of the choir.

A number of technology blogs provided tips on how to save and delete Instagram photos from the service in fear that Facebook would make them more visible under its different privacy policy.

"Instagram had a good privacy policy, but what is interesting is that Instagram (and many others) don't have any details in the privacy policy about what would happen during an acquisition," Anthony Mullen, a senior analyst at Forrester said. "Legacy data pre-Facebook will still be under the original privacy policy, but new content will be subject to a revised approach. Users, when faced with a disconnect of features across their pre and post FB Instagram photos, will likely acquiesce to having them aggregated under the new privacy policy."

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg made it clear in his announcement post that Facebook was planning to leave Instagram independent and keep the brand and app alive. However, that doesn't mean users don't see Facebook, which was once the small start-up, as the big bad corporate entity now.

"I think there's always skepticism when a large, profitable company takes over a smaller, not-yet-monetized start-up. Facebook is well-known for selling advertising and supporting marketer participation on its platform," Melissa Parrish of Forrester explained.

"Up to this point, Instagram has been 100 percent about the functionality and the users. There is no advertising on Instagram at all. Instagram users feel understandably protective of the service that has been simple and fun to use, and hasn't felt intrusive from a privacy or advertising perspective," she added.

But Mullen says the Instagram users have to face the reality. "Facebook buying Instagram for users is akin to having their landlord changed without any notification. It's jarring but something they have to accept – or move out. "

While users like Moorhead might be upset, she says she will go where her friends are. And that's precisely why Facebook paid $1 billion for the emotion-provoking, photo-centric start-up.