A media storm erupted earlier today over the announcement that Instagram, the smartphone photography app that allows users to add different filters to their photos and share them with their social media followers, has amended its terms of service and now claims to have the rights to sell these photos for profit.
The new terms of service state that "You hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post on or through the service.
“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."
It’s a bit of an interesting plot twist when you realise the microblogging site had actually bid to acquire Instagram before Facebook put forth its winning $1 billion sum.
This morning, the photo app’s co-founder Kevin Systrom released a statement via Instagram’s blog in defence of the company’s new terms and what they really mean for users when they take effect on 16 January 2013:
"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," the statement said.
“From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of the 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.”
The question, however, remains: will this “innovative advertising” incorporate users’ personal Instagram photos?
According to Mr Systrom’s statement, “we do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.
“We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos.”