Reminder: Instagram's New Policies Go Into Effect this Saturday

By - Thursday, January 17th, 2013

A month ago, Instagram notified users of changes that were being made to their privacy policy. The new terms, expected to go into effect today, caused quite the uproar. One of the biggest concerns, especially for Instagrammers who use the app as a platform for their art, was that the new terms would allow for Instagram to sell username information and photography to third-party advertisers. Almost immediately after the privacy policy was unveiled, Instagram experienced a backlash from their users via all modes of social media. Users took to the Instagram blog, Facebook, Twitter, and the app itself, to express their outrage. Many planned to delete their accounts, and compared the company’s policy changes to ones that Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has made in the past. To assuage users, Instagram reached out on their blog almost immediately, thanking people for their feedback and hoping to clarify any confusion that was generated by the changes. Even so, no explicit statements were made to reword the policy’s content. Those who use the service should have received an e-mail from the company today, which includes links to their updated policies (parts of which they have reverted back to their original form in an effort to calm down users). While the company has said they will not sell user data, the policy still states: “We may share User Content and your information with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group (“Affiliates”)…We may also share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners. This information would allow third-party ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you.” So it seems that they won’t sell your info, but they may share it. Hmm. Though Instagram’s short and sweet blog post will likely gain some users back (or keep the users who have been on the fence), it fails to mention that user content can be shared with affiliates ranging from Facebook to advertising partners. Users who prefer not to read the fine print and get to the bottom of all the policy jargon will likely feel comforted by the blanket statement made in the post: “Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.” In reality, the only thing that the company eliminated from their controversial policy was the part that explicitly discussed them being able to sell your content. It seems that the blog post masks a far more lengthy Terms of Service that the company knows most users are unlikely to read. Text: Nicola Parisi

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