After announcing several changes to its Terms of Service, Instagram has stepped back and removed a portion of its updated terms that would have allowed the company to use your likeness, photographs, and associated metadata to generate revenue from third-parties such as advertisers without informing you about it.
The changes to the Terms of Service states that:
Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.
You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.
This of course led to many users expressing their outrage at the seemingly devious ways the company was trying to capitalize on its users. Some expressed their outrage drastically by totally deleting their accounts and moving over to other photo-sharing services. Instagram took notice and quickly explained its position in a blog post, promising to modify offending terms.
“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.” said Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram. “It is not our intention to sell your photos.”
Here’s how Systrom responded to the claims that Instagram would be selling your photos to advertisers:
The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience.
Systrom reiterates that you still own your photos and Instagram doesn’t claim any ownership over them. He also stated that the terms were posted 30 days before it would take effect ensured users could have the opportunity to raise any concerns.