Instagram clarifies terms of use after users revolt, delete accounts

“Legal documents are easy to misinterpret,” reads a statement rushed out by popular photo-sharing service Instagram this afternoon in an attempt to stem what looks like a huge exodus of users. An update to its terms of service led many to believe that Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook earlier this year, was planning to sell users’ photos to advertisers without their consent, prompting many, including celebrities and media personalities, to threaten to delete their accounts.

Here’s the language that had everyone upset:

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.

That was the word yesterday, anyway. Instagram insists in its statement today that it has no intention of selling anyone’s photos, and content uploaded by users remains their property. In the meantime, as Instagram revises its terms of service, it has offered the following scenario to calm users.

Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

Will that be enough to draw users back? A campaign to #BoycottInstagram was already in full swing earlier in the day, and many had already deleted their photos, following instructions posted by tech blogs and other media outlets. Just because people post photos of every cup of cappuccino they drink doesn’t mean they don’t take their privacy very seriously.

With an apology extended and the picture a little clearer, will users be lured back? Twitchy will monitor the situation to see what develops.

  • peteee363

    instagram is a free service, right? how else are they going to make money? when will people learn this is what facebook does to make it’s money too? nothing is free, if they say free, there is always a catch!

  • HuandaRulz

    If they think they can get away with it, even losing half their subscribers they will keep on, just like Red Box did before is just corporate greed.

  • FIRE THEM ALL- 2014

    I would have to see the exact clause and the wording they used, but MSN did the same thing with their groups. It appears to be pretty standard legal language used by all of these so called “free sites”. MSN ended up closing their groups not sure why even though I was there at the time. It seems that they come and go, and that is frankly more annoying than almost everything else they do. Can you imagine sifting through the millions of pictures on their sites in order to find one that is suitable for reuse in an advertisement? And for you pro’s that’s what Photoshop is for, put a watermark on it and it becomes useless.

  • $18912735

    Oh noze! Kloe Kardashian (sp?) and Kal Penn … Anderson Cooper and Jonah Hill … the cultural Illuminati are leaving the once totally awesome and incredibly cool and so very chic Instagram. Cue the end of the world in 3, 2 1…

  • $18912735

    Oh noze! Kloe Kardashian (sp?) and Kal Penn … Anderson Cooper and Jonah Hill … the cultural Illuminati are leaving the once totally awesome and incredibly cool and so very chic Instagram. Cue the end of the world in 3, 2 1…

  • imme

    Instagram’s explanation has no resemblance to the language in the Terms of Service.

  • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

    You just know it’s bad when you’ve lost the likes of Perez Hilton.

  • disqus_2c2nFIVAr0

    Expecting privacy for anything you post on-line is like expecting Barack Obama to pass a budget.