Instagram: we won’t sell your photos


In a message on the Instagram website titled ‘Thank you, and we’re listening’, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom told users: “It is not our intention to sell your photos.”
Instagram’s new terms and conditions sparked fury among some users when they were published yesterday. The changes appeared to give the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site ‘perpetual’ rights to all images uploaded, and allow Instagram to use them for commercial purposes without identification.
If Twitter postings are to be believed, many users immediately closed their Instagram accounts and some businesses, such as National Geographic, said they were suspending new posts to the service. Among those protesting was Noah Kalina, the photographer who took the pictures at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding.
Telling users that “legal documents are easy to misinterpret”, Systrom said that the new terms and conditions were intended to give Instagram the option to “experiment with innovative advertising”.
He said that Instagram would re-write the terms to clarify how pictures might be used. “The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement,” Systrom wrote. “We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.”
Systrom added that Instagram was not claiming ownership of users’ photos and said that privacy settings would not be changed. This is not the only controversy Instagram has been drawn into this month. It recently removed the feature allowing Instagram pictures to be displayed on Twitter, escalating tensions between the rival networks.
More recently it has been claimed that Systrom “verbally agreed” a $525m deal to sell Instagram to Twitter, just weeks before announcing that the service had in fact been bought by Facebook.
Testifying before regulators in August as part of official scrutiny of the Facebook deal, Systrom said there had been no formal offers for Instagram, other than the one from Facebook.
Facebook’s offer for Instagram was originally valued at $1bn but that figure dropped to $735m as the social network’s share price slid. Last month Facebook announced changes to its terms and conditions that would see more data shared between Instagram and Facebook.