Home / News / Instagram denies accusations it will sell its users’ photos
Site's co-founder addresses users' concerns in blog post

Instagram denies accusations it will sell its users’ photos

Just hours after announcing its updated terms of service, the photo-sharing site has addressed the heavy criticism it has received from users.

Social networking sites lit up yesterday as users took them by storm in order to voice their disapproval of Instagram’s updated terms of service, which initially stated that it would look to sell its users’ photos to advertisers and additional third-parties.

The original terms read: "You hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post on or through the service."

However, shortly after these terms were made public, users of the service began to retrieve their images and delete their accounts before the opt-out deadline of January 16th set by Instagram.

National Geographic, known for its high-quality images, was also quick to suspend its account with the site, stating: "We are very concerned with the direction of the proposed new terms of service and if they remain as presented we may close our account."

Following the backlash, Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom took to the company’s blog in order to reassure concerned users and clarify the intentions of the new terms.

In the post, titled ‘Thank you, and we’re listening,’ Systrom said: "legal documents are easy to misinterpret" and continued to highlight the confusion that users had apparently made when understanding the new terms.

“Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram,” the post read.

“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.”

Additionally, the co-founder has confirmed that Instagram will be updating the language used within the terms of service to ease any confusion and clarify the firm’s plans, summarising by stating: "Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos."

To clarify, the site reportedly wanted to use its users’ photos, along with their information, on additional third-party pages in order to highlight relationships between them, such as a particular user following another.

However, when referring back to the original terms released by the site, it’s hard to see the alleged confusion that Instagram believes its users are seeing.

The inclusion of "fully paid", "royalty-free" and "sub-licensable" when discussing the site’s rights to its users photos would certainly indicate that there isn’t any confusion at all.

Instead, Instagram took note of the herds of users leaving the service – taking their photos with them – and quickly moved to manage damage control.

It may be too late though, as users continue to abandon the site whilst voicing their concerns over the situation on other social networks.

#instagone, anyone?

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