Instagram returns to original ad terms after fallout

Instagram web profile (screenshot 003)

Things have been pretty rough for Instagram here lately. Earlier this week, the photo sharing network announced an update for its TOS (or terms of service) that included talk of “advertising” and “your photos.” Obviously, this didn’t sit well with many of its users, and mayhem ensued.

To stop the wildfire, co-founder Kevin Systrom published a blog post assuring the community it was all a misunderstanding, and that Instagram would be changing the language in its TOS to clear things up. Now its reverted to the original terms to try and get everything back to normal…

In a second blog post, published late last night, Systrom announced that Instagram would be returning the advertising section in its terms of service back to its original version, which has been in place since 2010, and apologizes for the whole debacle. Here’s the gist (via TechCrunch):

“Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.

The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos. There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work.

Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010.

Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”

Clearly, at the time that it unveiled its new TOS, Instagram thought it was doing the right thing. It knew it was looking to start integrating ads into its service, but it didn’t (and still doesn’t) know for sure how it was going to go about doing it. It was just trying to cover its end with the legal stuff.

So for now, Instagram is just going to keep everything as is, at least until it figures out how it wants to handle advertisements. Then, we’ll likely see an updated terms of service again. But this time, you can bet that it will be a lot less sketchy sounding.