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Commentary: Facebook’s $1B Instagram purchase instantly disliked

Photo illustration by Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor

In yet another act of wistful money wasting, Facebook announced it would purchase the image-sharing application Instagram for a whopping $1 billion Monday.

Let me share my overwhelming enthusiasm.


I have long denounced Instagram as a platform for iPhone (and now Android) owners to take a vapid photo of a cloud or a tree and throw some kind of sepia-toned filter or a crappy blur tool over it in an attempt to make it look a lot cooler than it actually does. While that’s not what everyone does, that’s what a lot of people do, and it’s infuriating.

Blowing that up and allowing Facebook’s more than 845 million users the chance to do that is a scary thought. I’m already planning my strategy on whose updates to hide on my timeline.

Instagram is an app some describe as being for hipsters, even if the vast majority of the photos I see from my Instagram friends are of themselves at a bar with friends. There’s really no point in applying a filter that makes it look like the photo was taken on an old Polaroid camera when it’s just a photo of you so drunk that your brain is struggling to keep your left eyelid open.

With Facebook dropping more money on this deal than the gross domestic products of some small countries, I can’t help but think that money would be better spent somewhere else. There are millions of starving people around the world who have no concept of the X-Pro II filter. They just want some soup.

At any given time during the day, my Facebook timeline is flooded with photos of corny quotes about love, something making fun of (politician who represents the party I don’t support’s name here), and “jokes” that appeal to the lowest common denominator, such as something witty like, “I just don’t like you because you’re stupid.”

It’s not exactly clear what, if anything, will change about Instagram with its new partnership, but if it means seeing photos of quotes saying “I’m with stupid” in sepia tone, count me out.

Instagram does have its benefits. It was a perfectly apt platform to share photos with your friends without the extraneous frills of Facebook. In that sense, I liked it. I just can’t really tolerate the lackluster “photographers” who get a little too carried away with the filters.

I don’t mean to sound like a pretentious curmudgeon, but I’m afraid of what a potential Facebook partnership could mean to Instagram. Instagram has its benefits, if you forget about all the faux-photographers who use it. It’s simple and easy, but if Facebook is going to throw your Spotify updates and what article you just read from the Washington Post on there, you can count me out.

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