Monday, February 6, 2023

Instagram Responds to User Backlash over Policy Changes

Earlier this week, photo app Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) changed its terms of service, prompting a harsh outcry from users. Now the company co-founder has responded, promising not to sell user photos.

In his blog post, company co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote, “Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

NetworkWorld’s Jeremy Kirk explained, “The Facebook-owned photo sharing and editing service introduced a new privacy policy and terms of service on Monday. The terms of service, due to take effect on Jan. 16, appear to give Instagram the leeway to sell advertisements that incorporate a person’s username, likeness and photos, among other things. The new terms of service, published on Monday for public review, caused an immediate uproar from users, many of whom publicly said they would quit Instagram.”

CNET’s Steven Musil noted, “National Geographic, a magazine long respected for presenting high-quality photographs that are both artistic and journalistic, made [this] announcement today on its Instagram account. ‘We are very concerned with the direction of the proposed new terms of service and if they remain as presented we may close our account’ the post reads.”

Wired posted some of Instagram’s offending terms of service, which included the following sentence: “To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you 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.”

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