Instagram backs down on privacy terms, ads rules roll back to 2010

21 Dec 2012

Instagram has acted speedily to the negative reaction to the changes to its terms of use earlier this week and in particular is reversing its ad rules back to the original version launched in 2010.

During the week Instagram, acquired in April by Facebook in a US$715m acquisition deal, instigated a new terms of service regime that freaked out even its most loyal and enthusiastic users, claiming ownership of their content and even claiming use of their content for advertising purposes.

The web revolted – as is its wont – and many users began closing their accounts and switching back towards a combination of Twitter and Flickr to visually inform their personal social graph.

On Wednesday CEO Kevin Systrom said he appreciated the depth of people’s feelings on the matter and that changes were coming soon.

Writing in the company blog last night Systrom wrote: “Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.

“The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos. There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work.

“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 2010. You can see the updated terms here.”

He said that the company never intended to sell people’s content and going forward will work with its community ahead of launching new products.

“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.

“You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.”

The updated terms and privacy policy will take effect on 19 January 2013.

Instagram introduces new Mayfair filter and other innovations

On a more cheery note Instagram has introduced a new filter called Mayfair along with a slew of other innovations, including the ability to share from any photo album.

It has also added support for Facebook iOS 6 integration with single-sign on support as well as being avaialble in 25 new languages, including Russian, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish.

Instagram also updated its Android app which also enables instant sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years