Does Instagram's About-Face Make You Less Likely to Flee the Photo-Sharing Service?

After massive blowback for its news terms of service, social media giant issues apology and says it never intended to sell users photos.

Less than 24 hours after sparking a user revolt that saw even some of its most popular users threatening to jump ship, photo-sharing giant Instagram issued an apology to its users Tuesday, citing confusion over its policy and saying it will "remove" language from its legal terms that indicated it would sell users' photos or use them in advertisements, according to CNET's News.com.

Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom wrote, "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 confusion arose Monday when Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook in April for $1 billionannounced its new terms of service with language that left many users aghast: "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."

"Since making these changes, we've heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean," Systrom wrote Tuesday.

Before the reversal, Instagram had a revolt of potentially devastating proportions on its hands, as some of its most popular users, including Emmy award-winning multimedia journalist Richard Koci Hernandez (@koci), vowed to leave Instagram for less commercial pastures.

“It’s hard to walk away from 163,000 people and a really strong community, but this has just left such a bad taste in my mouth,” Hernandez told the San Francisco Chronicle.

So Instagram users in Marin, what do you think? Now that the company seems to have reversed course, will you continuing using it? Why or why not? Tell us in the Comments below.

Sierra Salin December 19, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I think that for the most part, folks are too busy with their own lives, as they drive on buy in consumerville, leaving wastelands of lifeless landfills in our wake, and we are getting the whirled we deserve, of endless wars, Fukushimas, legitimate rapist bankers, and a political system beholden and owned by Corporate Citizens United. In short, we are apathetic, ignorant, entitled, belligerent, and focused on profit and comfort at the expense of a sane future, and appear to believe that everything is fine, as long as someone is making a profit (off of the commons of nature which belongs to ALL life) and we apparently support and condone all the misery caused worldwide by our military policy, drones, and wars. Shame on us. Nature IS tanking, on our watch, and all we care about is being warm and entertained. Time for Tikkun and rebuilding sustainable systems, while we have the chance. We choose with every waking $, and every disposable product we consume the world we are leaving for future life. What ARE we choosing?
tony masi December 19, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I find this insulting, back-pedaling, corporate double-speak infuriating, and I'm not even an Instagram user. Is ethical behavior so absent from the mind of chief executive Kevin Systrom that he attempts to blame the confusion of his customers for his own greedy agenda, and then calls that some kind of an apology? The language used in the initial terms of service is not at all ambiguous. Facebook wants to lay claim of legal ownership to everything you post with their service, despite what they claim their intentions to be. They make money by selling your information. That's their business model.
John Ferguson December 20, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Why people consistently think electronic products should be given to them free of any sort of compensation is beyond me. Programmers cost money. Servers cost money. Bandwidth costs money. The fact that you don't pay a dime for using a sophisticated photo editing and sharing service ought to tip you to the fact that what you post on there has to be leveraged in some fashion in order to make money to keep the service going. The Facebook model is fairly clear - everything you post on that site is their property to do with as they please. The value is in the network both for users and for the company itself. Network selling is where we're headed and if you don't like it it's time to stop posting on FB if you don't want your content leveraged to make money for the service provider. It's just that simple - if you want privacy and don't want your information to be sold, don't use any service that you don't pay for with your own money and thus retain the rights to prevent the types of use that people seem to be protesting in this case.


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