Instagram demands right to sell users' photos to advertisers

Dec 18, 2012

Photo-sharing site enrages users with new privacy terms giving it the right to sell content

USERS of the wildly popular photo-sharing site Instagram are up in arms about a change to its privacy policy allowing it to sell users’ pictures to advertisers without notifying them.

When Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram in April many commentators suggested they had spent too much. Now it seems, the social media giant is trying to claw back some of that cash, the BBC speculates.

The changes, which also mean Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook and "other affiliates and advertisers", have infuriated many users of the site. One likened them to a "suicide note" today because they may lead many people to defect to rival photo-sharing sites such as Yahoo’s Flikr, which gives users full control over the rights to their pictures, says The Guardian.

The new Instagram privacy policy says that users "agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos … without any compensation to you". The only way to opt out of this new regime is to stop using the service and delete all your photos, says The Guardian.

The paper quotes Dan Catt, who worked on an early version of Flickr, saying Instagram would be unable to sell pictures that included recognisable people because the subjects would have to sign a "model release" giving their permission. In many cases this would be refused.

Instagram claims the changes, which come into place on 16 January, are not "substantial" and will bring the site’s terms "largely in line" with those of its parent company. But the Daily Telegraph says Instagram's proposals "appear to go further than its competitors".
The paper points out that Facebook was sued by users angry that their images had been used as part of "sponsored stories", settling the case in June by making a $10 million donation to charity.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Disqus - noscript

Shocking, but even more shocking is that most people expect a free service to be free.