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Instagram Backpedals New Terms of Service after Backlash

By Jules Ebe on December 18th 2012

After today’s onslaught of outraged users, this afternoon Instagram released a statement responding to the provision in its new terms that would allow the photo-sharing site to use your photographs, location information, screen name, and other information stored within your profile to garner revenue from third-party businesses and market without your consent or even your knowledge.

Obviously the original notice did not sit well with, well, anyone. In his statement this Tuesday afternoon, Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, states that Instagram “respects that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.” Though the sentiment is a step in the right direction, it seems to still leave many of the users that already deleted their accounts with little confidence in the future of the community.

After Facebook purchased Instagram earlier this year, it has been looking for ways to increase its revenue capabilities. Some are concerned that this “fielding for income” has broken the trust many users have with the platform. It is also disconcerting that the protection against class action lawsuits still remain within the text. Furthermore, measures to protect the rights of the user are usurped by the organization. Systrom’s statement also refers to Instagram’s design to become “a self-sustaining business” almost as if it is an excuse for, what some may feel, amounts intellectual theft. The uproar today over the Terms of Service change for Instagram follows on the heels of a photographer suing Apple for misuse of her photographs for marketing purposes.

With the promise to revise the Terms of Service again, and remove certain offending portions that the company deem “confusing”, Instagram hopes to calm the global backlash.

The question is, are many going to return, or has this broken trust sent our business to rivals Google+ Snapseed and Yahoo’s Flickr? Google+ Snapseed was voted #1 App in 2011 for its superior photo editing capabilities and ease of use. Likewise, with a renewed emphasis on photography, Flickr already has a clear stance on who owns pictures and what the company can do with them.

Instagram should take some thorough PR notes.

For more information concerning the controversial Instagram Terms of Service announcement, click here.


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.


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  3. a different phil

    You’d think, with a billion dollar valuation, they could afford a lawyer who could write terms of service that were somewhat less “confusing”.

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  4. Grizzly

    I deleted my account yesterday and am not looking back; I consider the trust broken.  Flickr now gets my full attention.

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  5. Jared Skye

    The term is “onslaught” not “on slot”.

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