Instagram is not going to sell users’ pictures!

It became known that a popular photos service for mobile devices have unilaterally changed the terms of their privacy policies. What attracted the users’ attention most is the fact that the license for the content shared with online service has been changed. Adjustment of the license from limited to sublicensing was considered as a creation of a photo bank and possibility that there may be third parties outside Instagram who may purchase user’s pictures without paying royalties.

There is a line in the new terms of use revealing that there are “services supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content”

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

New Privacy Policy and Terms of Service will be effective on January 19, 2013.

Assumptions regarding creation of photo bank have instantly caused extensive discussions and numerous claims among users. “How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account” instructions were quickly made and spread all over the Internet. Those instructions that explain how to download your pictures from Instagram and delete the account had an impact on Instaport (IP:54.246.82.151) photos import service that is believed to be specially created for a stab in the back like this. This service undergoes considerable overloads due to inflow of visitors and suggests you to download the photos tomorrow or later in several days.

However, there appeared the post on company’s official blog in which representative of the service assured that Instagram was not going to sell the custom content.

In this “Thank you, and we’re listening“ post Kevin Systrom, the co-founder of Instagram, told that the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service revealed the day before were just illuminating the way custom content would be processed. Kevin explained that this kind of documents is easy to misinterpret and that service was not going to claim any ownership rights over user’s photos.

It is planned to perform advertising on Instagram to provide the income and profitability of business. And apparently for some kind of innovative advertising that require targeting the users’ data produced and actions they took will be used (e.g., activities, following the account, etc.) but again, there was no intention to sell the photos downloaded to the service.

For example, users will be able to see which of the friends already follow certain businesses and the photos will not be used as a part of advertising banners. This is supposed to build a more meaningful following. All the users are still the owners of the content they shared with service and Instagram respects the users’ property and privacy rights. If you set your pictures to private Instagram only shares such photos with the people you have approved to follow you.

Taking into account that the new Terms of Use have caused such a great confusion and raised a lot of concerns the language that raised the question will be updated in the terms to make sure it is clear. And so, as the Slashdot users ironically notice – this is how the new chapter called “We Let Lawyers Write a Legal Document and The Internet Freaked Out” ends.

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