Instagram web profile (screenshot 001)

There has been a whole lot of hoopla surrounding Instagram’s newly updated terms of services, with commenters warning the new rules might give the popular Facebook-owned photography service the right to share your data with third-parties and – worse – sell your Instagram photos without compensating you. Does Facebook really intend to turn Instagram into a stock photo service that doesn’t pay a dime to photographers?

Cowed by privacy outrage, hours after releasing the new terms the company’s co-founder responded by shedding more light on the matter. In a blog post, he makes it clear that Instagram does not intend to sell its users photos while sharing interesting tidbits concerning Instagram’s advertising strategy…

Co-founder Kevin Systrom writes in a blog post:

Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. We respect that your photos are your photos. Period.

By the way, you may still appear in ads because “from the start, Instagram was created to become a business”.

However, Instagram has no plans to make your photos part of an advertisement so it’s going to “remove the language that raised the question”.

I guess my question would be: why allow the problematic language to appear in the privacy policy in the first place? As for ads, there are no plans for in-app advertising banners that “would hurt the Instagram user experience”.

There you have it.

So, just how exactly does Facebook expect to monetize Instagram with ads?

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.

The upcoming data sharing with Facebook should help with that.

This bit is important.

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.

In order to bring clarity to today’s brouhaha, Instagram will once again update its terms of service to “modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos”. The new terms will take effect 30 days from now.

Hopefully this eliminates the confusion so we can all put the matter to rest.

Still upset?

Vent your frustration down in the comments.