An interesting analysis of the Instagram takeover by Facebook:
Now consider Instagram. If Facebook is a sprawling, intertextual garden of forking pokes, Instagram is no more complex than a chapbook of poetry: It lets you share pictures with your friends and keep track of strangers who post interesting pictures. It barely has a website; all the action happens on mobile devices. Thirty million people use it to pass time in the bathroom. You can add some fairly silly filters to the photos to make the pictures look like they were taken in the seventies, but that’s more of a novelty than a requirement. So that’s Instagram. It’s not a site, or an app. What it is, really, is a product.
[. . .]
To some users, this looks like a sellout. And that’s because it is. You might think the people crabbing about how Instagram is going to suck now are just being naïve, but I don’t think that’s true. Small product companies put forth that the user is a sacred being, and that community is all-important. That the money to pay for the service comes from venture capital, which seeks a specific return on investment over a period of time, is between the company and the venture capitalists; the relationship between the user and the product is holy, or is supposed to be.
So if you’re an Instagram user, you’ve been picking up on all of the cues about how important you are, how valuable you are to Instagram. Then along comes Facebook, the great alien presence that just hovers over our cities, year after year, as we wait and fear. You turn on the television and there it is, right above the Empire State Building, humming. And now a hole has opened up on its base and it has dumped a billion dollars into a public square — which turned out to not be public, but actually belongs to a few suddenly-very-rich dudes. You can’t blame users for becoming hooting primates when a giant spaceship dumps a billion dollars out of its money hole. It’s like the monolith in the movie 2001 appeared filled with candy and a sign on the front that said “NO CANDY FOR YOU.”