A lot of this is about helping to increase the value to businesses, like National Geographic – mentioned by USATODAY as having 640,000 followers in Instagram – of using Instagram. “We envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following,” writes CEO Kevin Systrom. That’s where relevance (to the average user) comes in: “In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow [or your kid follows] also follows this business. In this way, some of the data [your kid] produce[s] – [like his/her following of National Geographic or his/her] profile photo – might show up [in association with National Geo] if you are following this business. Systrom also writes that Instagram has no plans to associate any user photos (besides their profile photo) with brands or products being advertised and has not made any changes to users’ privacy controls.
As far as ownership goes, he wrote: “We respect that your photos are your photos. Period.” I feel we can trust these statements because of the high cost to a high-profile social media company, whose “product” is really the content of its users’ lives, of not delivering on its promises.