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Instagram's new terms of service broaden its ability to use your content

Consumer Reports News: December 18, 2012 01:38 PM

UPDATE 12/19/12: Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom responded to user concerns yesterday in a blog post that said, among other things, "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."

Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing service recently acquired by Facebook, is making some changes to its terms of service, due to take place on January 16. The new policy broadens Instagram's ability to use subscribers' content, in ads for itself and even for other businesses, without compensating subscribers—or giving them a way to opt out, provoking quite an outcry.

According to Instagram's new terms of use, it does not actually own your posted content. However, it says, users "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:"

In addition, Instagram's new terms state that users "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."

The policy won't affect any images that were uploaded before the January 16 deadline hits, The New York Times reported. The only way to opt out? Delete your account. (If you decide to to that, Wired has a tutorial on how to get your photos back first.)

Some of our Facebook fans have weighed in on the new policy. "Definitely crosses the line. Photos I take are my property," said one. "Corporate predatory behavior," said another. And one person weighed in with, "I loathe those horrible, square photos anyway."

What do you think of the new terms of service? Will you quit using Instagram?

We recommend that you educate yourself about any online service before you share content or personal information. Check out our story "Facebook & your privacy" to find out how to use the site's privacy settings. And see Guide toOnline Security for more tips and advice on staying safe on the Web.

What Instagram's New Terms of Service Mean for You [The New York Times]
How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account [Wired]

Carol Mangis


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