Instagram: “It Is Not Our Intention To Sell Your Photos”

Kid Fury December 19, 2012 Why Didn't You Do That Before? 16 Comments

All hell broke loose yesterday when Instagram released a new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, which led people to believe that the company planned to sell any user’s photos without notifying or compensating said user.

Now co-founder of the photograph app, Kevin Systrom, has released a letter saying that this is not the case. Instead they are working to create advertisements for businesses on Instagram. Apparently, this affects you by simply giving them access to your followers who also follow the business, your profile photo, and any other date you produce that can help promote the business.

From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. 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.

To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

Systrom also claims that your photos will not be used for advertising, you still have full ownership of them and that nobody can access your photos if you have a private account. They seem to blame all of the confusion on misinterpretation of the original policies, but plan to iron everything out before the changes take place in 30 days.

Still seems fishy to me. You can read the entire letter here.

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  • Kendrick LaGreatness

    I’m glad I don’t have one…Is this even legal?

  • Diamond.

    I’m sure they didn’t want to use the faces of all those who were going off yesterday anyway. 

  • Jazz

    They want rights to CELEB and BRAND photos, not pics of hoes doing kissy face in the camera or hugged up with their baby daddy. 

  • Barack Yomomma

    His letter sounds like a crockpot full of bullshit and half truths. Not here for it and never was

  • serenissima

    Meh, I’m still done with them. The language of the new terms and conditions were clear as hell:

    ‘“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.”‘

    I don’t think it gets any clearer than that. IG is backtracking after the uproar from users and the media, and will probably only replace this language with statements full of loopholes that essentially mean the same thing.

    And anybody saying IG users that aren’t famous or professional photographers shouldn’t care because no one wants those pics is missing the point. It’s not whether or not they actually use the intellectual property, but the fact that they feel they have a right to use it whether we, the creators, like it or not.

    • FreeTuitionMakeHerDance

      yeah they definitely flip flopped their words. 

      • serenissima

        Can I also just add that there are many other ways for Instagram to become a ‘self-sustaining business?’ They could make it a paid app with special editions, like Angry Birds. They could offer ‘premium’ accounts with more filters/upload options (like removing unlimited uploads unless you pay for it) that you have to pay for. Or they could keep the plans to monetize the content but give creators an option to form a partnership with them and receive a cut, like YouTube. But they don’t want the millions in revenue that could generate, they want the possible billions they get from selling your content for ad revenue without giving you a red cent. The great and greedy mind of Zuckerberg at his finest.

  • Kaye

    Sound like someone’s trying to cover their asses. They probably didnt even expect people to read it. Little did they know…lol 

  • entertainmeh

    I don’t understand why people are so upset. As soon as Facebook bought them, that’s when red flags should of popped off. They are going the same route as FB, and people ain’t gonna do shit about it because it’s free. Since it’s free you are not the consumer, you are the product. If you mad, don’t use Instagram or FB. Simple.

    • whatevs

      That’s pretty much what I came here to say, when Instagram partnered up with Facebook I just assumed they were going to start using the same shady ass tactics. I mean they’re already flipflopping & blatantly lying. HOWEVER just because the service is free doesn’t mean the users don’t have a right to get mad, but I wonder how many people are as mad as they claim to be. 

      • entertainmeh

        Yea, you are right, people do have a right to be mad, but they will get over it super quick. When FB start getting shady years ago, they just got bigger and bigger. The same will happen to IG, because now people are more aware of it, and all publicity is good publicity. People forget very quickly these days. I got rid of FB, IG and twitter months ago and surprisingly my life got better, relationships stronger etc…social networking is taking over just a tad too much IMO.

        • Scarf Junkie

          IG is the only social network I frequent and I’m probably getting rid of that too. My life went on the upswing when I backed off of FB & Twitter, I got too caught up in it. 

  • Tiara Jason

    I’m still considering either deleting all my photos or my account, the sound suspect,


    OHH ok they can sell my pics but they will get a call from my mama. lol

    • KidFury


  • Doyenne Eleganza Saint-Augusti

    I really don’t give a magic mother fuck about this whole debacle, but it’s fun seeing the paranoid nation freak the hell out. Just give me fake ass photoshop filters when I request it and get out my face.