Instagram Changes Terms of Service — What Will You Do?

Instagram Changes Terms of ServiceI bet you’re seeing a lot of hubbub about Instagram’s updated Terms of Service. Here are the basics you should be concerned about:

  • Instagram can share your username, profile pic, and your pictures.
  • Instagram can also share your actions (Likes, Shares, comments, etc.) with advertisers and they don’t have to pay you.
  • Underage users aren’t exempt. Instagram is assuming that those users’ parents are aware of the terms.
  • These new ToS go into effect on January 16, 2013. My understanding is that your pictures up to then are not affected, but if you use the Instagram service on January 16, 2013 and after, then just by logging in (via app or website), they are taking that as acceptance of the terms of service.
  • Remember two things:

    1. YOU are responsible for your privacy on platforms.
    2. Facebook owns Instagram. They are driven by advertising and the info they can share with advertisers.

    Here are a few articles to help you decipher what you’re hearing (updated to add Instagram’s take and an article from The Verge):

    Finally, if you want to take control of your Instagram photos, be sure to download them to your computer with a service like Instaport. You can even port your Instagram photos to other applications. Regardless of what you decide, I do encourage you to at least download your Instagram photos to your computer so you have them. Remember: You don’t own anything on a platform that’s not yours. That goes for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    So let me know: What are you going to do?

    14 Responses

    1. Nikki December 18, 2012 / 1:30 pm

      I don’t know what I’m going to do just yet. I am seriously debating dumping instagram. I love the ability to edit and create effects and share instantly but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not worth the change in ToS for me to be able to do all that. Plus, the CNET article points out that they exclude themselves from liability if one of your private images are “accidentally” sold so that to me is very concerning because that is likely the only way I will continue to use it.

      Honestly, I hope they wise up and remove this shady change. It’s a shame that this change is being made to a really great social tool.

      • Melanie Nelson December 18, 2012 / 8:21 pm

        Nikki, there’s definitely a lot to consider. My friend Linda sent me another article from The Verge (I added it to the top of the list of articles in this post) that lays out the new ToS. I think it’s a good one to read too. They make it sound like it’s not quite as bad as some dramatic articles would have you think.

      • Barry Kidd December 18, 2012 / 11:30 pm

        I agree with you in that, for the most part it’s not a real big deal and the real goal beyond and ToS is CYA.

        At the same time it should be pointed it that rights grabbing clauses in contracts by big business, even “reputable” businesses, are the norm, not the exception.

      • Melanie Nelson December 23, 2012 / 12:03 pm

        Barry, sadly you hit the nail on the head. Many people don’t even read the ToS of any services they download or subscribe to. As you point out, while many reputable and large companies have standard ToS, that doesn’t mean those ToS are in the user’s favor.

    2. Dana Drake December 18, 2012 / 1:56 pm

      I will be downloading my pics to my computer and kicking instagram to the curb. I would have paid a $1 or 2 to have the app initially in order to maintain privacy and photographic rights. I paid $4 to picsplay pro to have more control over photo editing on my phone. To be fair, I don’t know their ToS right off the top of my head. I do intend to check, though.

    3. Melanie Nelson December 18, 2012 / 8:23 pm

      Dana, definitely see the article I added to the top of the list in this post (it’s from The Verge). They explain better than I can about the new terms and why they’re actually BETTER than they were to begin with. Instagram can’t really sell your photos or modify them. Instead, they are going to do many of the things FB is already doing — after all, FB bought Instagram this year and it would make sense that they’re going to have the same way of doing business.

    4. Barry Kidd December 18, 2012 / 11:18 pm

      I don’t have or use Instagram. It’s just not my thing. What I do find interesting how ever is that I have photos on Instagram and other and many other sites.

      Infringement of intellectual property is rampant on the internet and There many of my photos that have been taken and used widely. Some photos with many hundreds of cases of known infringement.

      Most, by far are just lids that take and use the image s on sites like Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram. Though this is annoying I don’t have time to track down the many daily cases and being a small business I certainly don’t automatically do it for me like they to the movie and music industries. Now I do track down and get serious with cases of infringement where the photos are used for profit though It’s not nearly as often. No more than 2 or 3 times a year for known cases.

      OK, here’s the drill. Any good rights grabbing clause like the new and improved Instagram plan will have surly have language making the user responsible for uploading and calming ownership of any thing they do not own. That’s just the way these things work. As a result of Instagram did in fact license one of my photos neither the licensing party nor Instagram would be held accountable.

      The problem is that I, as owner of the image,m can’t squeeze blood from a turnip and it would make little since to go after user that uploaded the file but I can as owner of the image get the company that licensed the image from Instagram to remove it and retract the advertisement with very little effort on my part. In the end if this sort of thing were to start happening it’s not going to look good for Instagram/Facebook when they start pissing of their big money clients.

      Just my two cents.


    5. rafeu December 25, 2012 / 1:17 am

      I think it is really useful because I personally like commenting on blogs with CommentLuv. But some sites have versions that are no longer supported asking them to upgrade to premium.

    6. Headless Mom January 7, 2013 / 4:03 pm

      I know this is old news but I have a question for you. My child (13) is on Instagram and Facebook. I’m on FB (and follow him there,)but not Instagram. Should I pull him off Instagram? Let it go? What would you do?

      • Melanie Nelson January 8, 2013 / 11:08 am

        That’s a great question. I’m glad you’re friends with your child on Facebook. It’s so important to keep up with them. Please remember, though — and I say this to everyone, not just you — on FB, the person publishing a status update can exclude certain friends from seeing an update. The only way to truly know what your teen is doing is to always have access to his/her login info and log into the platform (FB, Twitter, Instagram, whatever) as your child.

        As far as Instagram goes, it depends on what your child is doing. I don’t think it’s an issue for your child to be on there, but definitely follow them, pay attention to the types of photos they are posting, see who they’re following and what those people are posting, etc. And make sure your child isn’t adding their photos to a photo map (it’s turned off by default —, but you can turn it on). It’s better if others can’t see where your minor is hanging out. Another aside: Be sure to turn off the geolocation of your child’s camera app as well.

        Concerning the changes to Instagram’s TOS, you’ll need to read the updated version ( Instagram paid attention to the backlash and made changes to the new terms based on that feedback. Like all platforms (e.g., FB, Google, Amazon, and pretty much anywhere that uses cookies — which is practically every website), Instagram will collect information about how you use the platform, who you’re friends with, what you comment on, etc.) and they may use that to customize your experience.

        I know it can be a lot to keep up with our own social stuff and can feel like it’s just too much to manage our kids’ profiles too, but it’s so important (as you obviously know!).

    7. IPL 2013 Opening Ceremony March 8, 2013 / 2:03 pm

      I don’t like that Instagram has changed their terms of service. it is not user friendly at all.

    8. Titanic II March 8, 2013 / 2:04 pm

      Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networking photo sharing app. Changing their terms of service without the knowledge and consent of users is bad.

    9. Nojtaf Akyz March 30, 2013 / 6:47 am

      everyone will do the same thing they did before. nothing to do

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