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Instagram modifies privacy policy after sparking Internet outrage

December 18, 2012

Instagram sparked a public outcry with its new terms of service, which say the company now has the right to sell its users’ photographs without payment or notification, reports. “It’s asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos,” says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The new policy, which would have taken effect on Jan. 16, comes three months after Facebook acquired the popular photo-sharing site. Facebook now claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes. And unless Instagram users deleted their accounts before the January deadline, they can’t opt out.
A new section in Facebook’s terms of use policy for Instagram says that “a business or other entity may pay us to display your... photos... in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” Another new section shields the company from user lawsuits by stating that “Instagram will not be liable for any use or disclosure of any content you provide.”

However, after a daylong Internet frenzy, Instagram officials had announced that they would modify the policy last night. According to published reports, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post that the company had “heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean ...  we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos. Please stay tuned.” — Greg Beaubien


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