The photo sharing giant makes a few updates to its terms of service. The updates include new provisions under the "Rights" section that mark a potentially significant shift in the way Instagram can share user information—including photos, browser activity, and location data—with third-party advertisers:
- “To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
Late Monday night, around 10 p.m., an early report from CNET comes out. The news quickly makes its way into stories across various outlets Tuesday morning, from stories about why the Instagram policy change could be good for Flickr's new iPhone app to this one from The Register with the headline, "New Year's resolution: Don't use Instagram, it'll sell YOUR latte pics."
As word of the terms of service change starts spreading, users start backlashing against Instagram (on Twitter, of course). Many threaten to quit the service and find alternative camera apps:
" Who else is deleting their Instagram? These _____ be actin up." -@mfeeney
"So i hear IG will start selling photos that posted for their own profit. Is this correct? If so then me and everyone i know will be OUT!!" -LeBron James, @KingJames
"Looks like I'll be quitting @instagram in January if they don't drop the new policy. Why would I voluntarily let my art be stolen and sold?" -@marydoodles
"I WILL BE QUITTING INSTAGRAM TODAY. WHAT A BUMMER. YOU SHOULD ALL READ THEIR NEW RULES." -@Pink
CEO Kevin Systrom posted to the Instagram blog stating, "To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos." Systrom didn't say anything about reversals to the updated terms of service, but he did attempt to do some damage control by reminding users that, technically, Instagram has never claimed ownership rights to users' photos, and plans to stay that way. Systrom also says Instagram has no plans to field users' photos to be part of advertisements. "Our main goal is to avoid things likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience," he writes. "Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time."
What does this all mean for Instagram? The amount of user vitriol sparked by the initial interpretation of its new policy changes could be enough to keep some disgruntled users walking away from the service and looking to other alternatives from hungry competitors, such as Flickr.
[Broken Lenses Image: Flickr user Pedro fait de la Photo]