By Scott Kleinberg
4:44 PM CST, December 18, 2012
The popular photo-sharing service, which was purchased by Facebook earlier this year, posted its new terms Monday, and it was immediately taken to task for suggesting the company could use your photos in advertisements or even sell them without your permission.
In the new terms, Instagram wrote that some portions of its offerings may be supported by advertisers. That didn't raise many eyebrows, but then came the statement that sent the social media universe into a tizzy:
"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."
Tuesday afternoon, in a blog post at instagram.com titled "Thank you, and we're listening," Systrom offered an explanation.
"I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos."
Systrom reiterated several points, including two particularly controversial ones.
- Instagram doesn't plan to sell user photos. He said the company is working on updated language to make that perfectly clear.
- He said language that indicated your photos could be used in advertisements will be removed from the terms completely.
"Our main goal is to avoid things likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience, Systrom wrote. "Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time."
The new terms of service are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 16.