Instagram says it’s not planning to sell your photos

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When Instagram recently made changes to its Terms of Service, they saw more than just a public outcry due to Instagram seemingly claiming ownership of photos uploaded to the service. People closed their accounts (or threatened to), cursed them, and basically announced that it was the death of Instagram with the #RIPInstagram hashtag. But if the company is to be believed, it turns out that users may have spoke too soon regarding the matter.

In a post on the company’s blog, co-founder Kevin Systrom attempted to alleviate everyone’s fears by explaining the company was really trying to do with its new TOS. But first, he wanted to make a few things clear. “It’s not our intention to sell your photos,” he said. “We respect that your photos are your photos. Period.”

He then goes on to explain that the changes were made to allow users and brands to promote their photos and accounts “to increase engagement and build a more meaningful following.” An example would be the ability to see which businesses are being followed by your friends. Users will be glad to know he also says that they have no plans to use users photos for advertisement purposes.

Systrom then writes that “We need to be clear about changes we make — this is our responsibility to you.” If so many people came to the conclusion that their new TOS would mean something else entirely, surely somebody at Instagram thought about the possibility of that happening? Then they could have avoided this whole mess by publishing this explanation before the change. So yes, Kevin, you do need to be clear about the changes you make — no kidding.

[via Instagram Blog, image via @kimathomas]

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3 comments

  1. chump2010

    >>”It’s not our intention to sell your photos,” he >>said.

    Accidents have been known to happen lol. If they really wanted to reassure users, they would not use such weasely language. It would have been We will not sell your photos. Period. Full stop. You don’t use the words its not our intention…that’s like saying it was not my intention to eat that delicious subway you bought and left on the table…but…..

    “We respect that your photos are your photos. Period.”

    I still don’t understand this. If Instagram were allowed to sell on other peoples photos, does make the content theirs? The reason I ask is with all this trouble with piracy, all these social networking sites and hosters say ” we do not own anyone’s content, we do not regulate the content and therefore cannot be held responsible for any illegal content they put up…but we will take it down if we get a request to do so”.

    If they are now saying, they own the content that is posted on their website, surely they then become liable for illegal content and the subsequent fines that may ensue.

  2. Mike

    Umm, the TOS is the law of Instagram’s legal relationship with users. If Instagram isn’t going to sell users’ images, it simply needs to write that into the TOS–1 sentence, that would take a minute to add. Without that, Instagram’s and Systrom’s assurances are worth exactly that–and, likely, little or nothing under the law.

    Funny how Instagram has the time and money to change its TOS in its favor, but not yet to add a single sentence making clear that the users’ images remain their own and that Instagram will not sell them.