January 18, 2013
Instagram’s new terms of service agreement takes effect Saturday, Jan. 19. When it was first announced, this policy was criticized by many over privacy concerns. The document was subsequently revised yet again. First announced in December, the new policy included language that would make it possible for Facebook to include user photographs in future ad campaigns. Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012. The document originally stated:
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.This didn’t go over very well with users. Almost immediately, many took to Facebook and Twitter to announce their displeasure. Others simply canceled the photo-sharing service and sought an alternative, including corporate users such as National Geographic. Due to the backlash, Instagram removed the critical language. As Instagram founder Kevin Systrom stated at the time:
Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010. You can see the updated terms here. Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work. You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.Since then, National Geographic has returned to Instagram and the negative publicity has largely died down. In fact, the number of Instagram users grew by 10 percent after the new terms were originally announced, and then revised. Regardless, the new TOS goes into effect tomorrow. It includes mostly mundane language. To read it, click here. If you haven't already done so, you will be asked to accept the terms of this agreement the next time you open the Instagram app on your iPhone or access your account online.