Instagram backed down Tuesday from a planned policy change that appeared
to clear the way for the mobile photo sharing service to sell pictures
without compensation, after users cried foul.
"The language we
proposed also raised questions about whether your photos can be part of
an advertisement," Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said in a blog
"We do not have plans for anything like this and because of
that we're going to remove the language that raised the question," he
continued. "To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos."
January 16 had included wording that appeared to allow people's
pictures to be used by advertisers at Instagram or Facebook worldwide,
Twitter and Instagram forums were abuzz over the
phrasing, as users debated whether to delete their accounts before the
new rules kicked in.
"Bye-bye Instagram," tweeted Scott Ninness.
"Who in their right mind will use a service that allows your images (to)
be sold with no financial remuneration to you?"
continue using Instagram but just take blurry photos of sandwiches,"
suggested a Twitter user with the screen name Michele Catalano.
Systrom did not specify how the terms of service wording would be changed.
proposed portions of the new policy that rankled users included "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."
The terms also stated 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."
Instagram contended that it was not claiming ownership of people's pictures.
intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we'd like to
experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on
Instagram," Systrom said.
"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."
Some people tweeted in defense of Instagram, arguing that it was a "mega-business" that needs to make money.
quit Instagram on principle," Twitter user Liz Heron said on the
popular message service. "I'm tired of contributing to the
commodification (sic) of my own existence."
Instagram said that
the changes were part of a move to better share information with
Facebook, which bought the company this year.
activists at the Electronic Frontier Foundation had called on Instagram
to reconsider the new policy, saying it violated "key principles" for
social networking services.
Instagram, which has some 100 million
users, is seeking to route photo viewers to its own website, where it
has the potential to make money from ads or other mechanisms.
This month, the service made it impossible for Internet users to view its images in messages at Twitter.
Previously, Instagram pictures shared in messages tweeted from smartphones could be viewed unaltered at Twitter.
Twitter responded by adding Instagram-style photo sharing features of its own.
Yahoo! joined the fray last week by making it more enticing for iPhone users to use its Flickr photo service.
rose to stardom with the help of Twitter, but has distanced itself from
the messaging service since Facebook completed its acquisition of
Instagram in September.
The original price was pegged at $1
billion but the final value was less because of a decline in the social
network's share price.