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Instagram updates privacy policy, inspiring backlash

Ian Paul | Dec. 19, 2012
Users and critics are growing concerned over privacy rights after Instagram recently posted online changes to its terms of service and privacy policy. The new Instagram rules aren't set to go into effect until January 16, but users are concerned over how their photos could end up in advertisements on Instagram, and possibly Facebook, Instagram’s parent company. This latest privacy flap highlights, once again, the continuing tension between privacy concerns and using a free service that lets you connect with others across the globe.

Users react

Instagram announced the upcoming policy changes on its blog and it didn't take long for users to take to their Tumblr accounts to criticize the changes. The photo-sharing network claims the new terms would allow Instagram to function more easily as part of Facebook, and help fight spam and detect system and reliability problems more quickly.

The end of my Instagram account, said Tumblr user Lee Djinn. Deleting IG on 31 December 2012.

They [Instagram] inserted language giving them the rights to sell your photos for use in advertisements without notifying or paying you, or getting your permission, complained Tumblr user Kenny Vee. And theres no opt out other than to delete your account by January 16th.

Alright, Instagram, nice to have known you! Bye, bye! Not angry, because youre about to sell the pictures of users, but angry about that you dont even ask, said Peter Burger.

What does Instagram now having the right to sell OUR photos have to do with safety or with avoiding spam? Absolutely nothing, said another Tumblr user, reacting to the changes.

The reaction to Instagram's new terms is reminiscent of a change Facebook made in 2009 to its terms of service. That change, critics said, gave Facebook ownership over user data for advertising and other purposes. Facebook's 2009 terms debacle sparkedwidespread outrage and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The social network eventually retracted its policy changes and instituted a new site governance method that gave users the right to vote on Facebook site policies.

Ironically, Instagram's controversial new policies are a direct result of Facebook's recently revised terms that removed user voting on site policies.


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