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Instagram Responds To Backlash Over New TOS, Privacy Policy

Submitted by on December 19, 2012 – 10:23 amNo Comment

When we reported last week that executives were planning to “monetize” Instagram, this is not what we expected. The site unveiled an updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy on Monday that left many furious over the prospect that the photosharing site would be using and selling users’ photos. But Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom responded yesterday in a blog post, denying these accusations, apologizing for confusion, and promising changes.

“Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos,” writes Systrom, whose popular app was recently bought by Facebook.

What about that scary section of the new TOS that clearly states Instagram can sell the right to “display your username, likeness, photos… and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you”? Systrom says this “is not true” and the “language is confusing” and will be removed.

He goes on to explain that under the new policies, companies will be able to pay to sponsor posts, like on Facebook. So theoretically, nothing will change about the actions you take (posting a photo, liking or following something), and nothing will change about who can see that; but those that you’ve approved to see your photos and actions will be more likely to see them.

Tech blog The Verge explained as much yesterday, well before Instagram’s statement. However, Systrom’s post does not address other concerns, such as: the assumption that underage users have parental approval, not identifying ads and sponsored posts as such, and the mandatory nature of these changes.

It remains to be seen if Instagram’s rosier picture of their new TOS and Privacy Policy will actually be reality. Even so, the new standards may upset and drive away users.

What do you think? Will you stick with Instagram?


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