Instagram backtracks on privacy policy update

10:05 PM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

By Brett Molina, USA TODAY

Instagram is backing off updates to its terms of use after a change that suggested the photo-sharing service would use images in ads.

In a blog post published on Thursday, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom says they will revert to original advertising terms in effect since the service's launch.

The October 2010 terms say the service "is 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."

"I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did," says Systrom. "We don't own your photos - you do."

The updated terms will take effect on January 19.

Instagram's original update to its Terms of Use included language that hinted user photos could end up in paid advertisements, without permission or pay. "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," read the initial update.

The planned change stirred anger among Instagram users, many of them threatening to quit. Notable photographers and users such as National Geographic suspended their accounts until the terms were resolved.

The photo sharing service currently hosts 100 million users. In April, Facebook scooped up Instagram for $1 billion, and have sought ways to cash in on their investment ever since.

"Instagram was focused on building its user base, not on monetizing that base," says Radar Research analyst Marissa Gluck. "But now that it's owned by Facebook, which is under enormous shareholder pressure, it has to build a revenue model."

Systrom says the company is going to revisit its plans for bringing in revenue. "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."

Most Watched Videos