Instagram users were in a uproar this morning after the company made changes to their terms of service. Namely, what they can do with your content that you upload to the service. Instagram has now commented on their on blog to clarify what those changes mean and how they really affect end users.
The concern Instagram users had was with a portion of their terms of service that Instagram is claiming was not worded well and could easily be misinterpreted. Namely, who owns your photos and what Instagram can and can't do with them without your permission.
Where ownership rights are concerned, Instagram's co-founder Kevin Systrom, had this to say:
Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.
I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.
When it comes to advertising, Instagram does claim to be a business, which they are. And as such, they need to have ways to sustain that business in the form of advertising. They've made it clear in their latest comments that they don't intend on spamming users with banner ads but allowing business owners and individuals to promote their content in order to gain a more meaningful following.
To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.
As far as privacy is concerned, Instagram has publicly stated that if your photos are private, they will remain that way. In other words, you don't have to worry about your boss seeing an advertisement for sun screen where you are in a 2-piece bathing suit with your friends on the beach.
Either way, if you're still concerned over Instagram's new terms of service, you can always back up your photos and delete your account. Otherwise, for end users, it may not be much of a change at all. We aren't sure at this point if things are getting reworded due to public outcry or if it really was just a misinterpretation.
You can hit the source link to read the rest of Kevin Systrom's blog posting on Instagram. Then come back and let us know whether or not you'll be keeping your Instagram account or if you're debating deleting it.