Also, did anyone not see this coming? Both Twitter and Facebook have integrated ads into their services. As Bloomberg Businessweek notes, "Twitter’s success with promoted tweets shows that a few artfully placed ads won’t necessarily ruin a socia media site." Pinterest announced not long ago that it would begin an ad program, too.
That is not, of course, meant to defend Instagram's decision. Other commenters on the Instagram blog asked why the company didn't choose to offer a paid, premium, ad-free version of the platform instead. It's a valid question, and one that the company likely posed to itself already. But, if we were to guess, we'd say it wagered that the number of users who will grumble but still use the service with ads greatly outnumber the people willing to pay for it.
In the meantime, let's just be thankful for the freedom of selfie expression. (Bloomberg Businessweek)