Instagram explains new terms.


Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram has written a post on their blog (which appeared on the App last night) entitled: Thank you, and we’re listening.  This was done to clarify Instagram’s updated Terms of Use.  Yesterday, hashtag #BoycottInstagram trended worldwide after the release of the updated Terms of Use which had confusing words in them that made users think that Instagram will be selling their photos without their consent.

After the news media broke about the updated Instagram’s Terms of Use, many received it as Instagram trying to take away our privacy rights. Many blogs and websites even encouraged deleting user profiles before January 16th in order to avoid this invasion of privacy. My blog is one of them. What I read online made me think that Instagram will take my photos and sell it as their own.

Kevin Systrom explained, “Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.” He continues, “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.”

On the subject of Instagram selling your photos:

Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. 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. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. 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.

On who really owns your photos?

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.

The reason why you are given until January 16th to review the new Terms of Use:

One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns. You’ve done that and are doing that, and that will help us provide the clarity you deserve. Thank you for your help in making sure that Instagram continues to thrive and be a community that we’re all proud of. Please stay tuned for updates coming soon.

So, I guess that makes it clear for me. They have every good intention in changing their Terms of Use and to be honest, like everything else on the web – we are here to make money. We create blogs, websites, and apps in order to make money. This is a business and for Instagram to provide an opportunity for their users to review the Terms of Use, receive feedback and act on it is quite impressive. If you’re concerned about your privacy, voice it out. Like Kevin said, “we’re listening.”

To read the blog post from Kevin Systrom, please visit the Instagram Blog.

For now, I am keeping my Instagram account. I’m no longer in panic mode.



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