Madonna posted the above photo of an email she received from the Instagram team about her account.

Having only recently joined Instagram and already having over 190,000 followers, Madonna has certainly been sharing some more ‘edgy’ content than many Instagrammers: instead of food, cats and sunshine there is booze, lingerie and horses (?). It’s not a bad strategy: given her history of being edgy and being a bit of an over-sharer, it’s certainly “on brand”, even though she’s heading toward her mid-fifties.

But was this really something where Instagram was overly chastising (or as some outlets have reported, a ‘threat to close [her] account’), or a strategy to push both Madonna and Instagram back into the mainstream press? Madonna has picked up a ton of followers who are now aware that she’s on Instagram, and Instagram is further cementing its place as “the place to be” for people to be in touch with and engage with their favourite celebrities. With new tools and platforms who are arguably competing with Instagram for the hipster-what-food-is-on-your-plate market, it’s certainly not a bad thing for either party to make a splash across the news for a day or two.

So rather than saying that this was some kind of Instagram ‘censorship fail’ or an attempt to quiet down Madge, I’d instead say that it’s something where they successfully predicted her response and turned it into a positive — now they are both in the news (more users = win), and users are now far more aware of their content terms than they probably were before (also win). I certainly hadn’t read any of their Terms of Use before seeing the above image — although my Instagram account is more typical with photos of cats and sunsets.

So next time you see a post like this, or a news article talking about how much of a ‘fail’ companies like Instagram are when they try to control their users’ content, it’s worth thinking about who the real winner there is — in this case, I’d definitely say it is Instagram (and Madonna by extension).