Instagram and Exploitation

exploitation A small bit of good news: There has apparently been an “explosion of Instagram bashing” since Monday’s announcement by that Facebook subsidiary that it was changing its membership terms. The change, now retracted (no doubt temporarily), read as follows:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your user name, 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.”

In Marxian (and also human) terms, this is quite interesting and important, as it would represent the expansion of exploitation — the seizure of the proceeds of unpaid labor-time — into the realm of social media usage. When and if Facebook accomplishes this trick — and history strongly suggests it will, eventually, if it hasn’t already, people who use its “services” will be doing unpaid work for it as users.