Instagram Posts Update: "To Be Clear: It Is Not Our Intention To Sell Your Photos"

Tyler Durden's picture


Update: in what may be a death knell for Instagram, National Geographic just announced it would stop posting images to Instagram.

A day after an epic backlash to what many understood was a change in Instagram's TOS, which would see users vacate property and ownership rights over their photos shared on the popular social network - a concept clearly spelled out - and hand these over to Facebook (which recently acquired the Photoshop filters at the backbone of Instagram's business model for an ungodly amount), leading to a furious and perfectly expected exodus of users closing their Instagram accounts, here is the company's panicked response, in which it explains it did not mean what it meant. To wit:"To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos." What about selling photos accidentally? Which explains the legalese, because while it may not be "our intention", it is no longer expressly prohibited, is it?

Is it too little too late? And can the company convince the millions that have already left, and the further tens of millions on the fences, that its mission, like Google, is also"to do no evil"? We will find out in the next several days when Instagram's competitors are furiously collating the latest Comscore and various other traffic data to pronounce the early death of the photo sharing service over something as "trivial" as a change in the Terms of Service which many had hoped would fly under the radar unnoticed by anyone.

From Instragram's blog (highlights ours)


Thank you, and we’re listening

Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days. These two documents help communicate as clearly as possible our relationship with the users of Instagram so you understand how your data will be used, and the rules that govern the thriving and active Instagram community. Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.

I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.

Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns we’ve heard from everyone:

Advertising on Instagram 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.

The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.

Ownership Rights Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. 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. Period.

I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.

Privacy Settings Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you. We hope that this simple control makes it easy for everyone to decide what level of privacy makes sense.

I am grateful to everyone for their feedback and that we have a community that cares so much. We need to be clear about changes we make — this is our responsibility to you. One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns. You’ve done that and are doing that, and that will help us provide the clarity you deserve. Thank you for your help in making sure that Instagram continues to thrive and be a community that we’re all proud of. Please stay tuned for updates coming soon.


Kevin Systrom co-founder, Instagram

* * *

In other words Instragram may not sell your photo outright. Instead, it will contextualize it, re-package it, and use it to sell advertising, without giving you a penny. Oh, and while it is certainly not Instagram intention to do so, it may still sell it...

All better now?



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Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:24 | 3076359 Mongo
Mongo's picture

If it's free... then my nude photos are the products being sold

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:43 | 3076439 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture

I deleted my Instagram and FB account today. THAT FELT GOOD!!!

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:53 | 3076467 CPL
CPL's picture

I've never understood the entire concept of instagram.  Other than stealing artists works and flogging ads.   Wouldn't a photo blog do the same thing?

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:12 | 3076586 flacon
flacon's picture

What's ticker for Instagram? I want PUTS!

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:26 | 3076674 CPL
CPL's picture

Facebook owns instagram.



Tue, 12/18/2012 - 20:22 | 3076882 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Nope, not our intention at all.  We also didn't mean to turn a profit so that our stock options are actually worth something, but Shit Happens.


Tue, 12/18/2012 - 22:25 | 3077250 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture

meanwhile over at RIMM

Zuckerberg donates 18M Facebook shares worth $500M to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation

View summary 3h

Instagram Back Peddling on New Privacy Rules to Quiet Angry Mob

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:52 | 3076473 barliman
barliman's picture


Once it is on the net ... It is on the net forever!

Go ahead and feel good just as long as you can!

But as a reality check, this is the world you actually live in:

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 13:40 | 3079275 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture

Im aware that what was there will be forever. But nothing new will be there.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:00 | 3076515 AmCockerSpaniel
AmCockerSpaniel's picture

You just need to comprehend what you read. We said; It is not our

"Intention" to

We did not say we would NOT!


Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:25 | 3076364 malikai
malikai's picture

Imagine if people behaved this way over the drone striking of kids.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:51 | 3076469 CPL
CPL's picture

Too far outside of their monkeysphere of influence.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:05 | 3076541 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Nice to see Dunbar's number used right.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 20:23 | 3076895 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

"Imagine if people behaved this way over the drone striking of kids."

Handguns bad, Drones Good. Get with the programme.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 22:06 | 3077197 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

If people could feel tears in their eyes for 178 innocent kids killed by US drones in Pakistan and  raised their voices, Newtown killer might have thought it is bad to kill innocent children. He might have given killing of innocent kids a second thought.

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 01:47 | 3077677 AmCockerSpaniel
AmCockerSpaniel's picture

You just don't get it. It's not what they do, it's what a few of us do. Now turn over all your wepons like a good little boy.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:34 | 3076365 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

SitOnFaceBook, InstaCheckGram, TwitterTracker, GoogleOOGLE, Microshaft & Apple iSpyOS = all part of a glorious Stellar Wind.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:27 | 3076370 not fat not stupid
not fat not stupid's picture

they can rot in hell.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:27 | 3076376 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Hey, I love open source porn.

Let me get this straight.  Chicks put shit on the net, and they think it's only going where they send it?

Bwa ha hahahahahah.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:28 | 3076385 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

They don't say that they are not going to use any info without permission.

Is that so fucking hard?

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:40 | 3076427 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

It would be easy to SAY, but it's not true.  Apparently they're trying to tell some version of the truth.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:29 | 3076387 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

i wouldn't give those bastards the sweat off my ballz bitchez

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:30 | 3076390 ball-and-chain
ball-and-chain's picture

I don't see the crime.

Am I just plain stupid?

Someone explain it to me in English.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:42 | 3076433 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

There's no "crime."  People just don't understand the media industry--how it works, who it's for, etc etc.  If you send a team of corporate lawyers your pictures, they're no longer "your" pictures.

Amazing that 'Merkins are so confused about "property" that this needs to be expressly spelled-out for them.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 20:20 | 3076879 VisualCSharp
VisualCSharp's picture

Downvoted for continued shitty blog spam, as promised.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 22:21 | 3077242 PeaceLover
PeaceLover's picture

your OK the average IQ needs to be over 100 and sadly the average in Good old USA isn't

We have a country that cry's over innocent children getting murdered as they should, but it shouldn't end there.

But have no problem letting a confirmed torture enabler mass civilian killer stand up and put on a good act!

Demand the actor to stop the wars and the killing everywhere.

We have 6 or more polio volunteers executed today because the US used the Doctor's in Pakistani to trace DNA to try to find Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden!

We can hate the killers of the volunteers but come on bragging about using the doctor is kind REAL FUCKING dumb(that on US)

Or Obama coming in to office second term and saying Venezuela is off track,

HEY NEWS FOR YOU PRESIDENT>> they don't subsidize the oil companys they use the profits for there Poor.

Latin America except for the power elite the .001% think your a *((*&^^ sell out to the rich. We are having Democratic elections and they are just a little harder to rig down here (media harder to control) so our votes count and we don't electoral college to over ride the little guy. see this

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:30 | 3076392 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Instascam....a big steaming pile of digital bullshit deemed to have value. God help us.

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 00:03 | 3077537 prains
prains's picture

I think you just described the american economy in general

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:32 | 3076394 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

So it means NSA, FBI, CIA et'al don't need court orders. they simply pay instagram and get your information?

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:36 | 3076408 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

No payment required. An open conduit streaming user info and postings to Big 'Sis in real time, 24/7/365.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:47 | 3076459 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

I've noticed television commercials encouraging people to put naughty videos and pics on their cell phones and then they mush them back to back to share with their husbands when he goes away on a trip. Yeah, nothing could go wrong with that plan. Scumbags all.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 20:25 | 3076906 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Not to mention the risk of being convicted and pilloried as a sex-offender.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:33 | 3076399 rqb1
rqb1's picture

they stole that one from corzine

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:47 | 3076457 Unprepared
Unprepared's picture

"Corzine doesn't flush the toilet, he vaporizes the shit out of it"

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 20:27 | 3076912 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Corzine's shit doesn't stink because Corzine does not shit.  Corzine flushing the toilet is nothing more than a philosophical concept.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:35 | 3076407 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

mankind still amazing me with its stupidity! were all stars... aren't we? indeed, it's alright-- it is our right, to let a phantom paparazzi ubiquitously plagiarize our polarized vanity... mediocrity rules!!!

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:40 | 3076428 chump666
chump666's picture

Tumblr must be pissing off the porn industry.


Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:44 | 3076441 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Keep in mind, this is a BILLION dollar company.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:45 | 3076447 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

in gold or Bernank Bucks?


Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:04 | 3076535 msamour
msamour's picture

I beleive the operative word here is "was" This was a billion dollar company.


There, fixed it for you.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 20:29 | 3076925 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

The first question that comes to mind is, "What concept of a billion are we talking about here?" and the next is "What discount rate was used to arrive at that valuation?"

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:48 | 3076462 ZFiNX
ZFiNX's picture

It is completely their intention to sell your photos.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 21:01 | 3077017 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

facebook gotta try to make a few clams from their billion dollar impulse buy

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:49 | 3076463 e.blair
e.blair's picture

This is a trial balloon for Facebook.  They are obviously seeing how much they can screw the social media morons before the morons will wake up and realize that there is a dick up their ass.  Then, the same amount of penetration will be used on Facebook users.

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 01:56 | 3077693 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Today there is a very serious and ugly Instagram scandal in Gothenberg Sweden.  Pictures of young high school girls were taken and posted with things about sex etc.

It caused a riot in the city.  This is a real nightmare example of kids devices/cellphone crap blowing up in their faces. Not good at all. Facebook was part of it too.

Maybe these little kids will stop using Facebook, Instagram and this other crap.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:54 | 3076471 darteaus
darteaus's picture

Because photos don't belong to you after you post them on Instagram, so, of course, they are not selling your photos.

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:05 | 3076537 Tenshin Headache
Tenshin Headache's picture

Don't take this as support for Instagram/FB, but to be fair, from the above Instagram blog post:

"Ownership Rights Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. 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. Period."

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:07 | 3076549 darteaus
darteaus's picture

I stand corrected!

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 19:10 | 3076564 Tenshin Headache
Tenshin Headache's picture

That does *not* mean you are not granting them a license to use your content for any purpose you approve of in the TOS. If you grant them that license, they don't need to own your photos :)

Tue, 12/18/2012 - 18:54 | 3076488 SmoothCoolSmoke
SmoothCoolSmoke's picture

Note to self:  Everyone lies about everything.  That is all.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!