Instagram Responds To Backlash Over Selling Photos By Reverting To Old Terms Of Service

Instagram Responds To Backlash Over Selling Photos By Reverting To Old Terms Of Service

Instagram is sincerely asking you to chill out.

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.

To help clear confusion, Instagram lets you compare the old TOS with the updated one from today. Most of it is legalese, but the key thing to note is that Instagram still exercises the right to license your photos in any way it sees fit, but not sell them and take your right to claim ownership. More info is also available in the service’s official privacy policy.

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.

  • davester13

    They never planned to sell your work. Selling = 1 time payment.

    Now, renting your photos out for a specific period of time, that’s something totally different.

  • robert_walter

    I deleted my Instagram acct the moment Facebook bought it and I’ve never regretted the decision.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a journalist and co-host of The CultCast who lives in Lexington, Kentucky . He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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