Instagram Reverts Back to Old ToS After Backlash

Instagram said on Thursday that it has reverted back to its previous Terms of Use language due to all the feedback the company received after the changes it made earlier this week. The company claimed that it failed to communicate its intentions clearly, and is focused on setting things right once again.

On Monday the popular photo sharing service updated its Terms of Use with language that would go into effect on January 16. The update stated that "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."

Say what? That's right, and it doesn't stop there. "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," the new Terms stated.

Naturally the statement about making money off an Instagram member's username, likeness, and photos without compensation caused quite a poop storm. The backlash was immediate, and Instagram followed up on Tuesday claiming that it had no intentions of selling anyone's photos, and had no plans to retain ownership.

"I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion," stated co-founder Kevin Systrom. "As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos."

Later in an update on Thursday, he clarified that Instagram users own their photos, not the social platform. It clearly states this in the Rights portion of Instagram's Terms of Use, saying that "Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service."

Now the controversial section of Instagram's Terms of Use has been reverted back to its original state. "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 on Thursday.

"I’m proud that Instagram has a community that feels so strongly about a product we all love. I’m even more proud that you feel empowered to be vocal and approach us with constructive feedback to help us build a better product," he added. "Thank you for your feedback."


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  • It was intentional and they were hoping it would slide. I'm guessing they received threats of somesort and now are stepping back.

    Of course they're going to BS their way out of this by saying "that it failed to communicate its intentions clearly".

    Screwed up company should be shot down.
  • WithoutWeakness
    "Naturally the statement about making money off an Instagram member's username, likeness, and photos without compensation caused quite a poop storm."

    The end of this sentence had me laughing at my desk.
  • iknowhowtofixit
    Who does Instragram think they are, Apple?