Earlier this week, Instagram set the web world on fire when it released its new Terms of Services, which made it look like Instagram owned all user generated images and was free to sell them or use it in advertisements as and when it pleased. The updated agreement was to come into effect on January 16, 2013, setting off alarm bells and forcing a lot of users to quit the site by shutting down their accounts.
Nat Geo's Instagram image
Users took to other social networking websites to express outrage over the terms as co-founder Kevin Systrom was forced to issue an apology regarding the confusion. Systrom attempted to clear the air saying that Instagram had no intentions of selling user-generated content or to allow photos to be used in advertisements. “To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear,” Systrom said in the blog.
Systrom asserted that Instagram did not own any photos submitted by users, Systrom wrote, ”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.”
Talking about privacy issues, Systrom mentioned that nothing about image privacy will change come January. If a user has set his or her profile to private, only users they approve of will be able to see that user’s images.
Systrom’s explanations have not seemed to have any effect on NatGeo as of yet, with the official account maintaining a stoic silence over it. No one knows for sure if the magazine will continue with Instagramming its images, but the damage has definitely been done to the Facebook owned photo sharing site.