Instagram Changes Terms of Service, Now Has Rights To Profit From Your Pics

In a change that will prove laughably unpopular, Instagram has altered its terms of service so that it can sell your photos to other companies for the purposes of advertising. The new policy stresses that users own their content, but the language is clear that Instagram can take what you own and do with it just about whatever they like.

The policy states in part:

Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service's Privacy Policy...

The next section below that reads in part:

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.

As galling as this is for users, it’s further unsettling that minors’ photos fall under these same guidelines. Instagram’s terms say that if you’ve signed up for the service and are under 18 (you have to be 13 to have an account at all), you “represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision” on your behalf.

Instagram money

This is nothing surprising, though, considering that Facebook now owns Instagram; users have been uncomfortable with Facebook’s data-gathering practices for a long time, and this is really just an extension of that way of doing business.

However, there’s something far more invasive about losing control over who sees and uses your photos as opposed to your likes, not to mention the fact that Instagram is going to make a lot of money off of selling your photos (well, somebody’s photos at least) without offering a dime for compensation.

Further, there’s a sense that Instagram users have fallen victim to the old bait and switch. This is another tactic cribbed from Facebook whereby you get people heavily involved with using the service and then dramatically change the ToS and/or privacy policy. That makes it difficult for a user to walk away, both emotionally and practically--what is one to do with all those photos? Migrate them somewhere? What a pain.

In reality, what is most likely going to happen is that most Instagram users will be angry about this development and carp about it for a couple of weeks, a few will leave the service, and the rest will carry on with vintage-toned duckface bathroom mirror pics as normal.
Via:  Instagram
sackyhack one year ago

This bothers me on a basic level, but there's a little voice in my head chuckling at the reaction of some people. Sure, people who take a lot of artistic photos with this should be outraged, but the rest of us joe-schmos, should we really be worried about some company wanting to use our crappy green filtered picture of the sushi we had Friday night? Or the 50 oversaturated pictures we take of the first time we went out in like 7 months? Instagram (or is it Facebook now) is clearly in the wrong here and needs to roll back these changes, but I'm still tickled by some of the angry rhetoric on the protestor's side.

Dorkstar one year ago

I could care less about them using our photos and such.  Honestly, I'd be excited if I saw a picture I took on instagram plastered up on a billboard or something.  However, the lack of compensation is slightly offensive.

What really concerns me is this :

[quote]if you’ve signed up for the service and are under 18 (you have to be 13 to have an account at all), you “represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision” on your behalf.[/quote]

How is this even legal?  That's like having your 14 year old son run out and getting a tattoo across his face that because he signed a release saying you approved of it.  

CDeeter one year ago

This seems to be a very fluid situation. Instagram has just published the following on their blog:

"Thank you, and we’re listening

Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days. These two documents help communicate as clearly as possible our relationship with the users of Instagram so you understand how your data will be used, and the rules that govern the thriving and active Instagram community. Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.

I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.

Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns we’ve heard from everyone:

Advertising on Instagram From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead 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. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

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 likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. 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.

Ownership Rights Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.

I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.

Privacy Settings Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you. We hope that this simple control makes it easy for everyone to decide what level of privacy makes sense.

I am grateful to everyone for their feedback and that we have a community that cares so much. We need to be clear about changes we make — this is our responsibility to you. One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns. You’ve done that and are doing that, and that will help us provide the clarity you deserve. Thank you for your help in making sure that Instagram continues to thrive and be a community that we’re all proud of. Please stay tuned for updates coming soon.


Kevin Systrom co-founder, Instagram"

OSunday one year ago

CDeeter, can we get a TL;DR on that? ^


CDeeter one year ago

"CDeeter, can we get a TL;DR on that?"

lol, um sure, just as soon as you tell me what that is.

Dorkstar one year ago

lol, TL;DR is "Too long; didn't read".  I learned that one last year from a coworker.  

I read the article, and obviously it's a good move on instragram's part.  But the part about them assuming consent from a minor is still mind blowing to me.

CDeeter one year ago

Haha. Thanks! What can I say, I'm a guy who thinks trilogies are just the right length to tell a story. Besides, I didn't write it, the Instagram guy did. =)

And you're right, they need to make another adjustment. When it comes to kids, I don't think they should assume anything.

OSunday one year ago

It pretty much just means asking for a summary haha

scolaner one year ago

Thanks for adding the blog post, CDeeter! This is a very interesting development...

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