By Brett Molina, USA TODAY
after stirring uproar among users for potential rules suggesting they
could have allowed them to use shared photos in ads.
the Terms that would have taken effect Jan. 16, Instagram says that some
parts of its service might be supported by advertisers, with sponsored
content potentially featuring users' shared photos.
"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," reads an excerpt of updated Terms.
The stipulation even applied to users under 18. The new Terms were first spotted by The New York Times.
Instagram says users still have ownership of photos, the service's
Terms state that by adding a photo to your account, you are giving the
service license to use your content. Users can control what images are
posted or deleted, as well as who can view their pictures.
In a hastily written statement on Instagram's blog, co-founder Kevin Systrom said a newer update will take effect in 30 days.
intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we'd like to
experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on
Instagram," says Systrom. "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."
backlash began soon after news of the Terms spread, as Instagram users
threatened to quit the service. "Consumers don't want their pictures
used in ads without their knowledge or permission or compensation," says
Radar Research analyst Marissa Gluck. "Someone who doesn't even use
Instagram could even be in an ad if one of their friends takes a picture
Reaction to the Terms has not been received well by USA TODAY readers. "I won't use it," says @tonyajpowers via Twitter. "Facebook has ruined Instagram. There are other cool filter apps that I can use on my pics."
"Instagram's new policy is an egregious use of its customers information," adds Twitter follower @Craig_cgc. "I'll be gone."
launching in 2010, Instagram has a become a huge hit on smartphones,
allowing users to add artistic flair to photos by applying a variety of
retro filters, then share them with others. The service hosts more than
100 million users that have uploaded more than 1 billion photos between
the Apple iOS and Google Android mobile platforms.
Instagram was scooped up by social networking giant Facebook for $1
billion in an attempt to strengthen its footing on mobile platforms. The
potentially cash in on its investment.
"The amount of money they
spent, they obviously want to get a return on it," says analyst Arvind
Bhatia of Sterne Agee. Bhatia predicts Instagram could rake in between
$500 million to $700 million in advertising revenue in the next three
"Instagram was focused on building its user base, not on
monetizing that base," says Gluck. "But now that it's owned by Facebook,
which is under enormous shareholder pressure, it has to build a revenue
As the New York Times points out, the only way to
stop Instagram from using your pics is by killing off your account.
However, for those who enjoy a social world of filtered mobile pics,
there are several alternatives including Camera Awesome and Flickr.