Thursday 23 October 2014

Outrage forces Instagram to back down on plan to sell user photos to advertisers

Ellen Branagh

Published 19/12/2012 | 09:52

PHOTO website Instagram has backed away from plans to sell users’ photos to advertisers in the wake of a huge backlash.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, updated its terms and conditions on Monday, sparking concerns that it now claims ownership over users' photos and can sell them to advertisers whether they consent or not.

But the mobile photo-sharing company insisted today it is not claiming ownership rights, and has no plans to sell pictures to advertisers.

In the post, titled "Thank you, and we're listening", Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said after releasing the new version of the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service - due to take effect in 30 days - the company had heard "loud and clear" from "confused and upset" users.

"I'm writing this today to let you know we're listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion," he said.

"As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we're going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.

"Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I'd like to address specific concerns we've heard from everyone".

Mr Systrom said changes to the terms were hoped to show that Instagram wanted to experiment with innovative advertising.

"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."

On the issue of ownership rights, he wrote: "Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed.

"We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.

"I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights."

Earlier this month, tensions between Instagram and Twitter increased after Instagram restricted the way its pictures, known as "cards", are displayed on the microblogging service.

The relationship between the two has soured since Facebook bought Instagram for $1bn.

Instagram, which has rocketed in popularity since Facebook bought it in April, altered the feature, meaning pictures appear on Twitter badly cropped or deleted.

The move appeared to be a tit-for-tat retaliation after Twitter disabled the "find my Twitter friends" feature on Instagram in the summer.

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in Business