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Terms of Servicepocalypse- Instagram Edition

Terms of Servicepocalypse- Instagram Edition
Laura Mego

A week ago, we took a closer look at Facebook’s proposed changes to their terms of service.  This week we’ll examine a similar story- Facebook is now ruining Instagram too!

At least, that’s what the detractors of Instagram’s revised terms of service are saying.  Earlier this year, Facebook made headlines with it’s (almost) 1 billion dollar acquisition of the photo sharing service Instagram. At the time, loyal Instagram users (aka Hipsters) expressed concern that the takeover by Facebook would ruin the service, making it too corporate and, well, Facebook-y.  The Federal Trade Commission approved the purchase back in August of this year, and the two companies have been hammering out details of the partnership ever since.

On Monday of this week, Instagram updated their terms of service and promptly caused the internet to explode with negative comments.  The main point of contention for users of the service was a section that seemed to state that Instagram had the right to use images uploaded to the site in advertisements, and to sell the images to others without the consent of the original content creator.  Social media exploded with users sharing their suggestions for alternative services, their displeasure regarding the changes, and their disappointment with Instagram’s new “sellout” status.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom took to the service’s blog on Tuesday, hoping to clarify the company’s position to users.  Specifically mentioning the miscommunication regarding the use of photos uploaded to the website, Systrom said: “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.”   In addition, he attempted to quell users’ fears regarding use of content uploaded to the site in advertisements: “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.”

Outspoken opponents of the changes  are taking Systrom’s post as a sort-of backtracking maneuver for the service, while others are still skeptical about the eventual outcome. The updated terms of service are set to take effect on January 19th, 2013, and the only way to ensure that a user is not bound by the terms of service is to leave the service before that date.  Only time will tell if this will cause users to abandon ship en-masse, or if they will continue to use the site undeterred.

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