Instagram Clarifies ToS; Vows Not to Sell Your Photos

Paul Lilly

You can relax, Instagram isn't selling your photos, the service claims.

If you want to piss off the Internet, there are a number of ways to do that. One of the quickest is to insert language into legal fine print that threatens user privacy, as Instagram did when drawing up its terms of use agreement. The photo sharing service owned by Facebook announced some changes earlier this week, changes that said users would have to "agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you." Following an Internet backlash, Instagram decided it best to remove such language.

In a followup blog post , Instagram pointed out that "legal documents are easy to misinterpret," in essence playing the "It's not what it looks like" card (that never works).

"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," said Kevin Systrom, co-founder of 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."

Systrom also said that Instagram's users own their content, clarifying that "Instagram does not claim any ownership over your photos." He also said that one of the reasons the changes outlined earlier this week wouldn't go into effect until next month is that he and his team wanted to make sure the Internet community had an opportunity to raise any concerns.

Mission accomplished.

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