Basically everyone deleted their Instagram account after being told that the new terms of service agreement forced users to allow execs to sell user photos for profit. #BoycottInstagram trended on Twitter as users stood up for their rights to maintain ownership of their photos.
Now, the company is backtracking after realizing that they would soon have no users posting sepia tone photos of Christmas trees, snow men, or vacation spots. They released an emergency statement promising that they would not sell user photos.
The new user agreement read, “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.” I’m no lawyer (yet) but a business…may pay us to display your…photos sounds a lot like selling your pictures to me!
Cofounder Kevin Systrom said in his statement: “It is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos.It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true. Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period. I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.”
If you’re planning to use your photos professionally someday, I’d ask a lawyer friend to tell you what’s really going on, because I can’t make head or tail of it! I guess we’ll figure it out in the days to come, but in the mean time it’s better to be safe than sorry! Shut down your Instagram until this craziness is resolved, and remember that Facebook owns Instagram and may have a similar policy! What do you think of Instagram’s weird new terms of service? If it doesn’t mean they will sell our pictures, what are they hoping to do for profit?
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