Instagram has had quite a week since legions of disgruntled users voiced complaints over the app’s shady Terms of Service (TOS) update. One clause in particular caused many users to jump to the conclusion that Instagram planned to outright sell its users’ pics without explicit permission. Instagram quickly responded to the outcry by reassuring that it has no plans to sell photos. An update to the TOS was also promised.
Today Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom published a new blog post detailing the service’s updated stance on content ownership and privacy:
Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.
You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.
For those that don’t know, Instagram was recently bought by Facebook, and the photo-based social network has started investigating plans to monetize. The location metadata associated with pics you share on Instagram is valuable, and Instagram has the right to share what it knows about you (including pictures of your latte art, sunsets, kids, etc.) with potential advertisers. This is no different than the way Facebook or Google works. In fact, there’s probably less personal info to be gleaned from Instagram than, say, your Google account.
If you’re really that scared about the future of Instagram, you can download your photos and close your account for good. The rest of us will keep on filtering our food.