Technology: Instagram revises revisions to terms of service after backlash

Posted by Mitch Small on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6:10 pm.

On Monday, the free photo-sharing service Instagram released an update to their terms of service and privacy policy that allowed them to use users’ photos for its advertising purposes without consent from or compensation for the picture-taker. The wording of the document gave Instagram license to use these photos without indicating that they were advertising.

The update also allowed the service to share user information with Facebook and other entities, including advertisers. The changes gave users no way to opt out of the new terms, short of deleting their account.

Many users responded to the new terms by threatening to boycott, including a number of celebrities who use the service such as Kate Walsh and Audrina Patridge — both of whom tweeted about the service. The hacktivist group Anonymous also responded with a threat of boycott.

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, responded to the backlash in a blog post on Tuesday, stating it is not Instagram’s intention to sell user photos, and the terms of service would be updated to be made more clear.  The blog post also mentions that the new terms of service was an effort to experiment with different advertising models. Furthermore, user photos that are set to private will remain as such and won’t be used for advertising.

The changes are set to go into effect on Jan. 16, with photos taken before that date ineligible for use in advertising.