[Updated] Instagram Conveys They Now Have the Right to Sell Your Public Photos
Earlier in the year, Facebook purchased Instagram for over $1 Billion dollars. Since then it appears they have been implementing some of Facebook's less popular policies at Instagram, and one in particular will likely anger quite a few customers. Apparently, Instagram claims they now have the right to sell any of the public photos that you use/take/modify with their service. Furthermore, unless you delete your account before January 16th, you cannot opt out of this. This seems to follow suit with Facebook's new policies on the subject, and justifiably has the interwebs in an uproar.
Now, it's important to note that one specific line of their new Terms of Service makes it clear that they are referring to the photos on their service that are made "public". Any of the photos you use on their service that are made "private" do not seem to fall under this new umbrella. This is small consolation, and for many users, makes their service practically useless.
What do you guys think of this? Is Instagram/Facebook going too far with their Draconian policies, or do you not care what they do with your pics?
If you are now of the mind to stop usage of Instagram services, here's a quote from a CNET article describing how to save your pics an ditch the service before the January 16th deadline.
Update: Apparently, this issue is a bit more complex than many of the news sites are sharing. According to an article at The Verge, Instagram has always had the ability to use your photos, and this new policy only clarifies it and actually places some extra limitations on it. The Verge also claims that Instagram cannot actually sell your pics, but they still have some interesting ways in which they can use them. Here's a quote followed by a link to the full article,
On January 16, the photos you upload to Instagram can be used for third-party advertising. This change in Instagram's policy means that the photos you take of your kids, pets, family, or anything else, can be sold without even notifying you. If you decide to wait until after January 16 to close your Instagram account, your photos could still be used or sold.
Not really feeling the change? You're not alone. Many users are wondering what they can do with their Instagram account -- whether they can download all of their photos and preserve their privacy, or if they are stuck giving Facebook free advertising material.
On the bright side, you can download all of your Instagram photos, and it's not a difficult process. Back in April, Jason Parker discussed using Instaport, a Web app that can grab all of your photos for download or relocation to another cloud service. You'll have to authorize Instaport to use your account, and then you can decide what to do with your photos. You may experience a bit of wait time when trying to use Instaport these days. It's even added a text banner on its page notifying users about heavy traffic.
Once you're done exporting your creative content, it's safe to delete your Instagram account. With the profile pages Instagram rolled out, it's easy to find the link for deletion. Just head to Instagram and click on the menu with your username in the top-right-hand corner (you may need to log in first), then select Edit Profile.
You'll see a link that says "I'd like to delete my account" in the bottom-right-hand corner. Click this link, tell Instagram why you're leaving, and you're done.
There is obviously more to this debacle than previously meets the eye. Sound off in the forums if you have some valuable insight into this situation.
So what can Instagram do? Well, an advertiser can pay Instagram to display your photos in a way that doesn't create anything new — so Budweiser can put up a box in the timeline that says "our favorite Instagram photos of this bar!" and put user photos in there, but it can't take those photos and modify them, or combine them with other content to create a new thing. Putting a logo on your photo would definitely break the rules. But putting a logo somewhere near your photos? That would probably be okay.
If all of this seems vaguely familiar, it's because it's basically what Facebook has been doing with Sponsored Posts for months now — advertisers can pay to "sponsor" your posts in various categories to make sure they prominently appear in your friends' News Feeds. So if you "like" The Hobbit, the filmmakers can pay Facebook to promote that post across Facebook. The main difference is that Facebook is a little more clear and careful about what can and can't be promoted — you do lots of different kinds of things on Facebook, so it fundamentally has more things to sell. Pretty much all you do on Instagram is share photos, so there's just not much else the company can do to make money except use those photos and your data to sell ads. ~ The Verge
Thanks for the tip, CJM!