"How to Quit Instagram."
"No, You're Not Going To Quit Instagram."
"Why I quit Instagram."
As users reportedly flock away from the service in reaction to the change, they might want to consider the terms of service for the services to which they're flocking.
Unless they've adjusted privacy settings accordingly, Facebook has been using their content as advertising since it introduced sponsored stories last year. Flickr, one of the services many users picked up in lieu of Instagram, has a clause in its terms of service that says it may adopt new privacy policies if its parent company, Yahoo, is sold. Imagine the outrage! No matter whether you publicly post photos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, you give the service a worldwide, royalty-free license to your content.
Reading terms of service agreements isn't fun (take it from someone who spent all day doing so). Here's a cheat-sheet to how your photo-sharing options compare on key criteria:
By posting your content on any of these services, you grant them a license to it. But none of them own the rights to your photos. Nor would they really want that liability.
Here's Twitter's language:
"By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use...Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services."
Here's the new language Instagram announced, the proposed change that caused an uproar (Cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom has promised to remove offending parts of the changes before they go into effect Jan. 16):
“Some of the Instagram Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”
Here's what Instagram's terms are currently:
"Some of the Instagram Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you."
Here's Facebook's language:
“You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. You give us permission to use your name and profile picture in connection with that content, subject to the limits you place.”
Flickr stands apart here. Its TOS, which it shares with other Yahoo products, says its license for content such as photos allows it to (emphasis mine): "distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available."
Instagram's plans to share data with Facebook has caused some grief. Other services' share with their parents (present and future), but they state their intentions up front.
Instagram: Will share data with “businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is a part of” (namely, Facebook).
Facebook: Will share data with “businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Facebook is part of” (namely, Instagram).
Instagram: Maybe. "We may also share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners. This information would allow third-party ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you."
In other words, if you want to leave, can you actually pack up a suitcase?
[Image: Flickr user HyoJung Kim]