When a tech billionaire buys a product that is ad free and all about the users its usually a sign that things will change in the very near future.
True to form, serial privacy invader Facebook has confirmed plans to cram its photo filter app Instagram full of ads, according to a blog post on Tuesday.
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for roughly $715 million. Since doing so, the company has put a small number of ads into the product.
But ads will be small no more, as businesses of all sizes will soon be able to buy ads directly, in a push to make the photo sharing app profitable.
Instagram's ad's will be "native" in design and will allegedly be an unobtrusive addition to the photo-sharing service.
Except, of course, the whole privacy thing. The more ads get shown and the more elaborate the ad platform becomes, the less privacy users have. Given Instagram is an app, and its owned by Facebook, it has a vast amount of data about you, which will now happily be shared with advertisers of all sorts.
For the 300 million or so people who share their pics on Instagram this means advertisers can target you "based on demographics and interests".
In other words your habits, location, stage of life, relationship status and other creepy data will be heavily tracked and sold by the new ad businesses.
But Facebook, of course, thinks this is all sunshine and lollipops:
There are more than two million advertisers who actively use Facebook to market their business and we want to leverage the best of Facebook’s infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads on Instagram.
We will start by opening the Instagram Ads API to a select group of Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies, and we plan to expand globally throughout the year.
Don't be fooled though. The entire world will very shortly be able to buy your data in order to target you with ads.
Which is a good reminder that if a product from Silicon Valley is free, it isn't actually the product.
You, and your personal information, are the product.