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Insta-Outcry Leads to Instant Retraction

Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing service announced its policy change Monday, only to back down to the public’s outcry on Tuesday.
The new policy was set to be in effect starting on January 16th, which stated Instagram’s rights to sell your photos with absolutely no royalty, right, or riches.  It allowed companies to purchase your personal Valencia-filtered photos that you publish on the app.  So that photo you just took of your newborn baby cousin could now be Monmouth Medical’s new billboard.
Outrage has sprung from these new terms and conditions, causing Instagram to apologize to its users and promising to “remove the language” from its legal policy that allow it to sell public Instagram photos to companies.

Prior to the apology and clarifying blog post from Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, the public widely misunderstood the intent of the new privacy policy and terms of service. “You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you,” was one of the many added sentences to the policy that confused the public.
Systrom explained in his blog post that Instagram is a business, and advertising is part of the process of becoming a self-sustaining business.  He states,

“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.”

Its new advertising policy is similar to that of Facebook’s “sponsored stories” ads.  For instance, if you “like” an advertisement for the new iPad, Facebook suggests that you may like another ad that is similar, the iPhone 5 perhaps.
Systrom also writes of how Instagram never claimed ownership rights of people’s personal photos, new policy or not.  “… and we respect that your photos are your photos.  Period.”
These new now-abandoned policy changes had Insta-users threatening to boycott the service.  The fact that no one would get compensated for their masterpieces of fine photography, really rubbed everyone the wrong way.  We’re all obviously pro-photographers due to Instagram’s photo filters, so why shouldn’t we get the money for our personal pictures?  Photographer Jimmy Giambrone posted a 109-likes-worthy Facebook status, stating,

“People are getting’ all upset over instagram now being allowed to sell your photos. Who cares! Just be happy your photos are out there. One of my photos was used for a song’s single cover for iTunes. It went double platinum. That means they sold the song + my cover for 99cents TWO MILLION times. Guess how much money I got for it? $0. Plus my photos have been in wordwide magazines with NO credit or Payment. And I absolutely don’t care, and this is supposed to be my job. People just take their photos way to serious. Just be happy your photos are out there for people to look at.”

So even if Instagram never revoked its additions to the privacy policy and terms of service, why would that be a bad thing?  The story is two-fold; on one hand companies could purchase your photos and use them with no notification or compensation to you, but on the other hand, the photos companies may use of yours could make you famous (or at least gain you bragging rights).
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