Instagram 3.2 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)Instagram 3.2 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

As we told you yesterday, realizing it needs to start making money the Facebook-owned photo sharing service has added an interesting clause to its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

The updated rules give Instagram the right to sell access to your photos to advertisers and share your profile data with third-parties. The change enraged some to the point of closing their Instagram account.

The vast majority of users don’t appeaer to oppose the decision with such drastic measures, but there’s no doubt that the company is playing with fire. The move already has backfired. A major backlash ensued and the misstep is now threatening to snowball into a PR catastrophe…

CNET nails it suggesting the change basically turns Instagram into a stock photo service that doesn’t pay a dime to photographers in licensing fees. A second section bluntly states that “a business or other entity may pay us to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you”.

The new intellectual property policy goes into effect on January 16.

So what, I’ll just opt out, I hear you say.

Unfortunately, you cannot opt out as the changes are imposed on users. If you have issues with the updated terms of service that give Facebook the perpetual right to license all your public Instagram photos to faceless corporations and advertisers, you’re out of luck.

Indeed, just tweaking the wording slightly makes all the difference.


Developer Reginald Braithwaite dives deep into the new terms, providing this human-readable ‘translation’:

You are not our customers, you are the cattle we drive to market and auction off to the highest bidder. Enjoy your feed and keep producing the milk.

The new terms also give Instagram rights to share information on you with Facebook, other affiliates and advertisers and “you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you”.

So, unless you’re cool with Facebook and Instagram profiting on your snaps, your only option is to download your snaps and close your Instagram account before the January deadline.

The backlash first started on Twitter.

One irked user nailed it, writing that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images”.

New York-based photographer Clayton Cubitt on his Instagram account wrote that the new policy is “Instagram’s suicide note”.

Here’s how your Instagram photos used in an ad looks like.

Web publications and mainstream media are writing about the new policy so I think Instagram may wanna take a step back and re-think its wording, especially the section governing photo use.

Joe Brown ran an article on Gizmodo titled “Dear Instagram, Please Sell My Photos”.

Bloomberg is just as assertive, correctly warning in its headline that “Facebook’s Instagram Changes May Exploit Teens’ Content” because the new policies apply to users as young as 13.

Instagram web profile (screenshot 002)

It is also unclear how the policy change might affect services like Printstagram, which turns people’s Instagram snaps into prints, wall calendars and stickers.

Instagram’s misstep may have opened a rare opportunity for Yahoo’s flagging Flickr service, whose iPhone app was recently updated with Instagram-like filters, a much prettier interface and support for full Groups capabilities.

Unlike Instagram, both Yahoo’s Flickr and Google’s Google+ app (which taps Picasa web albums) allow for full-resolution photo uploads and maintain full EXIF meta data embedded in your snaps.

Explaining what Instagram’s new rules mean for you, The New York Times writes that, among other things, “you could star in an advertisement — without your knowledge”.

The Verge, on the other hand, thinks that “there’s no way Instagram can sell your photos to anyone”.

Gosh, good thing I didn’t delete my Instagram account.

And how do you feel about Instagram’s policy change?

Would you mind Facebook selling your Instagram snaps to third-parties without compensating you?

Would you go as far as to close your Instagram account over the changes and switch to a competing service?

  • jose castro

    if they’re selling them i want my profits…

  • It’s easy to end this crap.
    -> Account -> Delete Account -> Are you sure? Absolutely!

    Boycott is the biggest weapon against corporation BS. Want profits? Make companies pay to have their own profiles. Follow them or not, should be our option.

    • Ding ding ding ding , we have A winner 😉

  • Switching to Flickr

    • On the DL, Flickr sucks.

  • Facebook just messin up lately.. Hope they’re not already selling people’s photo on FB. Too much power & $$$..? Sell my photos without my consent, no payment, not even a notification. Demn! Fu**k instagram! Fu**k facebook… The world has been fine without this idiots. Nonsense!

    • Mark Zuckerberg the biggest hypocrite of all time.
      1) Facebook? No ads ever…

      and now this shit! Facebook is shit and now every company they buy (like instagram) they are using the same shit to earn money. Im not against the fact that they earn money (they should and deserve.. ) but it’s the way they use to earn money that pisses me off. That’s why I deleted both accounts, Facebook and Instagram. And I really hope that all people follow the same action against this crap…

  • I just deleted my account. Sucks that Instagram had to take such a shitty alternative just to make a few bucks. Oh well, thanks Facebook!

  • I left Instagram a long time ago…
    Glad I did.

  • OldTom

    And this is why I never have nor ever will have a Facebook or instagr acct. just not worth the bs/headache.

  • I say go ahead and use my photos
    I heck care since all is food and speedtest photos
    I really see how much those photos can worth
    Also , waiting for the day Instagram fall!!

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    I think they could have avoid this problem by simply allowing a user to share, and paying them for the use of the picture keeping a percentage for them self (like apps in Apple store).

    People gain money (if they wish to participate).
    FB gains money.

    Everybody happy.

    The problem is that FB went for the greedy money graving strategy.

  • Peter_tom

    In the end, everything you post in the internet can technically be used everywhere, it is just kind of illegal. That Facebook is playing pool with your datas is something that knows everyone, but still everyone is using it. Now, many people stand up like “bad guys, i will delete this sh*t”, but most of the instagrammers will stay on instagram, because in the end they don´t care about their data. This is the only reason why things like facebook work…

    • A sad True. And someday they will post on their walls the same old BS scam saying that “I don’t allow facebook to use my data.. bla bla bla.. copy/past this if you agree” …

  • Well, I don’t really mind. If they’re going to use our photos for ads, just give credit to the user. Like in the corner or something put Instagram @(insert username here). Could be a good way to get followers, if you want.

  • People will keep on using ’em, no matter what.. Or else how they’re gonna show other what they are eating,,

  • This is exactly why I deleted my Instagram account when Facebook bought them months ago, knew FB would screw over the user. Those that think its not a big deal if FB sells your photos cause you just have crappy food pics or whatever, should care cause if some company is willing to pay to use your photo in its advertisement or wherever it see’s fit then you should get paid for the use of your photo regardless if you think its a crappy photo or not, cause their gonna make money selling their product off of using your photo and thats not right or fair any which you slice it.

  • Wankers, i really like my instagram account got some great scenic photos on there of london, new york etc. PHOTOS I SHOT, they have no right to sell my photos tossers. Seriously doesn’t fb earn enough cash already. my account will be deleted with a lot of other people on there with similar shots and then all that will be left is people taking photos of food, doing ‘selfies’ (and still tagging trees sky lol) and other shit people take photos of. all of the people with photos that have some photographic valve should delete their account to avoid them performing a daylight robbery on us! @trainerfreak is my insta btw lol

  • CamSince89

    I could see adult content sites having a field day using Instagram photos for their banner ads. Smh.

  • Milo

    I just deleted my account

  • Done!

    I left instagram

  • Latrese

    Come on this has gotta be illegal somehow! My 11 year old sister has an instagram account & the fact that they can just sell pics of her without parental consent can’t be legal>:(

    • In new terms it says that if you are under 18, by having an instagram account, you have a Parent or Guardian that has consented to the TOS.

      • Latrese

        That’s very stupid considering our parents don’t even know what instagram is & I think it’s safe to say that a lot dont

  • And that’s why I dot use Instagram

    • maurid

      Why? Because you knew this would happen, months ago?

  • What if you have a private Instagram account? Will your pictures still be at risk of getting sold and stuff?

    • if your IG account is not publicly viewable and you have not tagged or shared any photos, then no, your photos will not be used at all.

  • Never had an account but all this BS makes me wanna create one and post a gazillion photos of my @@…. Here, use that Facebook

  • Fubuk

    Just use google snapseed. It’s better than this shit.

  • maurid

    Idiots beware! Don’t delete your Instagram account if you have pictures of you and your friends doing duck face, drinking, picking your noses, etc. This affects Instagram “artists”, those who take actual money-worthy pictures.