Instagram recently updated its Terms of Service (TOS), and everyone freaked out at a clause that said a “business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.” INSTAGRAM CAN SELL MY PHOTOS WITHOUT MY PERMISSION?!? Quick, everyone move to Flickr!!!
As with most news involving social network privacy, it has all been blown way out of proportion. No, Instagram does not want to sell your precious pics you take on your iPhone.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom in a blog post today:
From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.
There you have it. Instagram cannot “sell” your photos like an auctioneer; it has limited ability to display ads involving your photos and personal data. It’s no different than how Facebook and Google know everything about you and can tailor ads to your personal info.
From the mouth of Systrom:
Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.
So, that close-up latte art shot you took on your iPhone 5 and gave the new Willow filter in your favorite coffee shop? Yeah, you totally own that.
Facebook owns Instagram, and Facebook wouldn’t have paid nearly a billion dollars if it didn’t think it could monetize Instagram somehow. When you don’t financially pay to use a service, you are the payment. The location info and interactions associated with Instagram photos are valuable to advertisers. Facebook has to leverage that somehow, or it’s not being a good business.
Instagram will be updating its TOS soon with a more straightforward breakdown on privacy. In the meantime, read this great piece on The Verge about what it all this really means.
Source: Instagram Blog.