A couple of days ago, Instagram updated its Terms of Service (ToS) which gave everybody the impression that the company will be able to sell user uploaded photos on its servers to third parties without any due permission from its owners. This sparked quite an outrage in the tech world and led to a lot of users opting out of the service. But now, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom has mentioned that the language used in its ToS was misinterpreted and there will be no selling of pictures without due permission or compensation to the original owners. He clarified that the company wanted to let users know with the updated ToS that they will look to try out a few things with new forms of advertising. I’m sure they could have phrased it well in the first place if that was the case. And the CEO has already apologized for causing a stir on social networks about the ToS. Previous reports suggested that the new ToS was all Facebook’s idea to make sure Instagram mints money instead of merely being a photo sharing site. He reaffirmed his stance on uploaders being the sole owners of the pictures. Nat Geo stopped posting pictures on Instagram after they learnt of the new ToS, so this has made quite an impact already. Systrom apologized for the confusion caused, and this should pretty much be the end of the issue now. Users can resume normal order of business on the photo sharing site. Instagram will apparently post a new (and better phrased) ToS to not confuse users anymore.
In a statement given by the CEO, he provides enough clarity on what’s different with Instagram and what’s not. Although it might seem a lot more than just miscomprehension, it’s commendable that the CEO has cleared the air on this. This should come as a huge relief for users who exited the service fearing theft of privacy. Here’s the statement given by Kevin Systrom:
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.
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.
Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you. We hope that this simple control makes it easy for everyone to decide what level of privacy makes sense.