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 Instagram Terms of Service Changes


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“If the product is free, you are the product.” Famous business quote


Why Instagram is Not Actually ‘Evil’ and Little More Hesitation About Stealing Your Photos


Starting January 16th 2013, Instagram can do whatever  with your photos. Is that true? It’s time to do a little analysis.


Every day since Instagram’s announcement about the  change in TOS, I could see explosion of articles and discussions on how the service is now “evil”, “useless”, “bad”.It was clear since the moment Facebook bought this popular service that things would go exactly like this.


There is simply nothing shocking here, just go on – with or without the use of Instagram. It’s important to say that all Instagram data belongs to Facebook along with images, which in turn can be used freely by the service for the promotion, advertising, without compensation to the user.


Although there will be controversy over this, users have no right to complain. It’s a completely free service, and users are not forced to use it. Period of one month is given before enforcement of new Terms of Services begins.


Do New Terms of Service Violate User’s Copyrights and Privacy?


Many users are now complaining that a new rule violates their copyrights – and how they want to be part of the profits.  Sadly, people think that the photos sized 612 × 612 pix can be used for something “more serious” (although such attempts exist). Actually, there is nothing new with new Terms of Services and Privacy Policy and here is why:


Let’s Examine Instagram’s Old TOS


“Some of the Instagram Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”


Let’s Examine Instagram’s New Terms of Service


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


My Analysis


After I read the old conditions, it becomes clear that even under the old conditions, Instagram could do identical things related to customer data. Text is only refined and supplemented to avoid “confusion” about what is being done with the data we ignored earlier.


Instagram’s Official Statement


In the official statement however, they claim something quite opposite from my analysis. The Official blog response  says: “Users remain the owners of their photos and Instagram has no right to sell them as such”; “legal documents are very easily misinterpreted – and we always listen what our users have to say. End of chapter.” Here they put the final word about this whole thing.




In the end, it’s hard to believe that new rules will have a drastic effect on a number of users of this extremely popular service. The fact is that Instagram will certainly not fail (because of the new rules) – users always had a choice to use it or not, and they have the same choice now. Those who stay with Instagram, will continue to enjoy the free filtered photos with others, comment on them etc… How will you handle your Instagram account? Have you ever used Instagram to drive traffic to your website?

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