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Instagram changes Privacy, Terms of Service


Yesterday, Instagram announced changes to its privacy and terms of service, leaving the Internet aghast. Reactions ranged from outraged to thought-provoking, and shows how much we value privacy and fairness.

What does this mean for you? Instagram put a positive spin on it, and notes that “nothing has changed about your photos’ ownership or who can see them,” and the update privacy policy and terms of service help “protect you, and prevent spam and abuse as we grow.” It also notes that the photo-sharing platform will more easily function as part of Facebook, and information will be shared between the two groups. The updated Privacy Policy and Terms of use are effective on Jan. 16, 2013, so you have some time to decide if you want to continue the relationship with the service or cancel your account.

We broke down some of the key points directly from the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use below:

Privacy Policy:

Relationship with Facebook: “We want to make sure you understand that you still have control over who sees your photos. You still get to choose who can see your Instagram photos, and you still get to choose whether you post your photos on Facebook. So while we’re looking forward to working closely with Facebook to build better experiences, we aren’t changing the core features of the app that you’ve come to know and love.”

Advertising: “We may use information that we receive to … provide personalized content and information to you and others, which could include online ads or other forms of marketing.”

Events: “We may use information that we receive to …  automatically update the Instagram application on your device Instagram or other Users may run contests, special offers or other events or activities (“Events”) on the Service. If you do not want to participate in an Event, do not use the particular Metadata (i.e. hashtag or geotag) associated with that Event.”

Terms of Use:

Rights: “Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service’s Privacy Policy, available here.”

The sections people are most angry about:

Advertising: “You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”

Rights: “Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. 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. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.”

Proprietary Rights in Content on Instagram:
“Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the Instagram Services. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.”

How do you feel about these changes and do you plan on keeping your account, updating your privacy settings, or terminating your account?

Instagram is listening to complaints from its community and its co-founder, Kevin Systrom, wrote a detailed blog post on the backlash. He says they are going to modify specific parts of the terms but “legal documents are easy to misinterpret.”

Systrom then addresses specific concerns with the new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, saying:

On Advertising: “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.”

On Ownership Rights: “Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos.”

On Privacy Settings: “Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos.”

About Lisa Denten

Lisa Denten is the Social Media Manager of Cision U.S., where she leads social strategy, coordinates the blog editorial calendar and manages public relations campaigns. She regularly hosts Cision webinars, was chosen as a #FollowFriday guest on industry blog Spin Sucks, and has spoken on panels for Inbound Marketing Summit and Publicity Club of Chicago. She worked in the newspaper industry before joining Cision in 2008. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter at @lisaml15.

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