Instagram Won't Actually Sell Your Photos

Well, how’s that for yet another PR nightmare?

Instagram announced that it was going to update its terms of service. Under the new agreement, it sounded like you were suddenly relinquishing all of the rights to your photos, granting permission to Instagram to sell pictures of my food and otherwise use those filtered photos however they see fit. The online masses cried foul and several people have since deleted their Instagram accounts and deleted the apps from their phones, migrating to Aviary-powered filters in the Twitter and Flickr apps, for example.

Well, perhaps that was all a little premature. It might be too little, too late, but Instagram has issued an official apology through the company blog, saying that it was all a misunderstanding.

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 wed 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.

We already heard not that long ago that Instagram was going to start selling advertising, so this isn’t new. What is new is that Instagram is stating for the record that “Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed.”

Considering how much people worry about Facebook’s over-reach, it makes sense that they’d fear the same kind of over-extension from Instagram. This is a brave new online world and it’s all uncharted territory. We all have to be careful what really belongs to us on the web. After all, as someone once said, if you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product.


Via Instagram Blog

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