Instagram reverts to old privacy policy wording after uproar

The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone.
(Lionel Bonaventure / AFP/Getty Images)

It’s over. For now.

On Thursday night, Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, announced that the company would revert to the original wording in the advertising section of its privacy policy and remove a controversial clause that caused several prominent Instagram users to quit, or threaten to quit, the app.

The offending clause, announced Monday, made it sound like Instagram could sell users’ photographs to advertisers with no compensation to the original photographer.

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The clause, embedded in the company’s terms of service, read, “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 user name, 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.”

That has now officially been removed.

“Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October of 2010,” Systrom wrote in a blog post.

He also reiterated that Instagram never had any intention of selling users’ photos. “We don’t own your photos,” he wrote, “you do.

But this doesn’t mean that Instagram won’t be working on more ways to put ads on its service. It just means that they hope to be able to do it without causing such an uproar.

“Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work,” Systrom said.


It will be interesting to see if that approach works better.


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