‘What Instagram’s New Terms of Service Mean for You’

Jenna Wortham and Nick Bilton reporting on the ToS changes at Instagram:

This means that photographs uploaded to Instagram could end up in an advertisement on the service or on Facebook. In addition, someone who doesn’t use Instagram could end up in an advertisement if they have their photograph snapped and shared on the service by a friend.

That’s the same sketchy crap that Facebook pulls (and no wonder since Instagram is owned by Facebook). You may be perfectly fine with your privacy being invaded — perhaps not even seeing it as an invasion — but will you be fine if a picture of your kid holding a Coke can becomes the next Coke ad plastered all over Instagram and Facebook?

The problem with this rule is that you, and those you photograph, become implied endorsers and spokespeople for these “brands” 1 and that’s bullshit.

If you want an alternative Flickr looks to be the place to go right now. Their new mobile app is solid and people have been joining, or re-finding, Flickr in droves lately. Best of all, you can pay a measly $29 for a year long Pro account that will remove the need for Flickr to create bullshit terms of service.

If you want a more stuck up version, 500px is fantastic.

Updated (December 18, 2012): Instagram has responded to the negative reactions with a statement that talks down to users a lot. However this is one great clear part in the response:

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.

Good. Now if only the rest of the statement had less bullshit I could actually make heads or tails of what they really are saying — which to me sounds like: “calm down, dude.”

One bit I did chuckle at:

From the start, Instagram was created to become a business.

Ways I read that:

  • We always wanted Instagram to be a business, never knew how.
  • Yippee! We are becoming a business.
  • Our business was to get a lot of users and sell for a crap-ton of money. We succeeded.

Anyways — good on Instagram for pledging to remove that sections, now we just need to make sure they don’t forget.

  1. I am now only capable of saying the word “brands” with the Marco Arment emphasis.
Originally posted for members on: December 18, 2012
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