Outrage over Instagram’s license to use your image and photos

From celebrities to everyday people, many of Instagram’s 7.3 million daily users are upset about its proposed privacy changes and Terms of Use changes that give it a license to use your photos and image. The outrage was so loud that Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom tried to reassure users with a blog post, saying that “we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.”

Let’s be clear: despite the headlines, Instagram hasn’t actually removed the offensive parts of the policy update. All they’ve done is say they will.

The changes won’t go into effect until January 16th, 2013, but here’s are the parts that everyone’s upset about:

“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.”

“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.” 

Translation: even though you own your photos and personal information, Instagram and its affiliates/advertisers can still use them to make advertising money. And even though they’re making money off of you, you don’t get any of it.

Even though Instagram is doing damage control and stating that they don’t intend to sell your photos to advertisers, the language of the policy is clear. When it comes down to it, the words in the legal document are the only ones that affect users’ rights, not what the co-founder is saying in a blog post or to the press.

As we blogged about last month, the biggest change resulting from Facebook’s privacy policy overhaul is that it can share your personal information with a lot more people, especially its affiliates. Instagram is probably its best-known affiliate, purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in April 2012, and it too is proposing dramatic changes to its policies to give you less privacy in exchange for more advertising revenue.

It’s unclear whether Instagram is planning any updates to changes that bothered users most, or whether they view their explanatory blog post as sufficient. In any case, Instagram users will want to pay keen attention over the next 30 days to what’s going to happen with their data, and maybe even quit the service altogether. (Here’s how to back up your photos first).

This incident should remind users that “free” services like Instagram and Facebook come with a price: your personal information.




4 comments shared on this article:

  • Brek says:

    Interesting counter-argument to your advice, here:

    Comment posted by SnowShoeHare21 at the CNET link you provided:

    “Don’t delete your account. It is likely that is what they are trying to get people to do, delete, and throw away the *old* agreement, which protects you. Do nothing, and likely the old policy would be grandfathered in. If you delete now, but started up your account later, under the new EULA, then they might have a right to do this. You will have signed up for it. As it stands, I expect a dozen lawsuits to be filed, and for Instagram to back down. Just sit tight.”

  • Marcus says:

    Anything you put on line face book /twitter / all the rest of them.. you do at your own risk you literally giving away your rights by putting your private information for all to read and use as they please..they have no way of stopping others using the same site criminals and others from gaining your details /where you live /family members/it’s a paper trail they will be able to find you and your money or anything else you have, /lots of people have been found /bosses checking employers police checking the site on a regular basis?

  • marco says:

    vaya esto ya es descaro en su totalidad estoy tranquilo que nunca utilice instagram y en unos momentos le estoy diciendo a hasta siempre a facebook. creo que estaria bien si estas empresas dieran una no grande pero si grata bonificacion por utilizarnos como producto de cambio y tambien por hacerlos ricos. jajaja es broma acida. muy mal, mi pregunta sera el declive de algunas redes sociales?

  • Ever since facebook bought over them things have changed. And based on the policies changes many companies will have to take care of their interest first. Business is still business. You cant changed that.

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