Social media advertising: Instagram to sell users’ photos to advertisers


Facebook owned photo app Instagram has asserted its right to sell its users' photos to advertisers, sparking a wave of criticism from users and privacy campaigners alike. The move was announced in an update to its terms of service, where Instagram claimed the right to resell images posted to its servers. The changes also mean Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as other affiliates and advertisers.


The move riled social media users, with one likening it to a "suicide note.

The new policies follow Facebook's record $1bn (£616m; 758 euro) acquisition of Instagram in April.

Facebook's vice-president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson earlier this month had said: "Eventually we'll figure out a way to monetise Instagram."

The new policy will come into place in January 2013. Unless users delete their Instagram accounts by a deadline of 16 January, they cannot opt out.

Under the new terms, Instagram would be able to:

• Share information about its users with Facebook, advertisers and other companies
• Use your photos and likeness for advertisements without your knowledge - including underage users
• Use your photos for ads which are not labelled ads

The company claimed that "nothing has changed about your photos' ownership or who can see them. It also argued the new terms would "help protect you, and prevent spam and abuse as we grow".

Instagram said that its aim was to make it easier to work with Facebook.

"This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used," it said in a statement.

The new policy has triggered a backlash among social media users, with some threatening to quit.

One user tweeted: "Good bye #instagram. Your new terms of service are totally stupid and nonsense. Good luck playing with the big boys."
New York-based photographer Clayton Cubbit wrote on his account that the new policy was "Instagram's suicide note".

The relevant passage of Instagram's terms of service reads:

"Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.
"If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf."

Read the full announcement here

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