(For an update to this story – news of a recent retraction by Instagram – go to this story on Mashable. Here’s a link to the Instagram blog post retracting the new policy.) I love Instagram. It allows me to shoot photos, apply cool filters, and then easily post them on multiple social media platforms. So why do I plan to cancel my account later this month? Well, a few months ago Facebook bought Instagram. That was okay, at first. Now Facebook/Instagram has announced a new policy whereby it has the right to sell or license any public Instagram photos without paying for them or even informing the photographers. So every photo I have posted on Instagram can be used by Instagram/Facebook without my permission! Here’s the actual language of the policy:
“Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. 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 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.”
So, it appears they can sell your photos to any business or individual – including photos that contain images of you and your family members. Essentially, as I understand it, Instagram would become this amazing stock photo outlet, without having to pay for the images. What a business model!
That’s why I’m closing out my Instagram account later this month. Users who fail to close out their accounts by January 16, 2013 will lose the rights to their images posted on Instagram – unless Instagram and “big brother” Facebook change their minds. If you are currently using Instagram, I suggest you give this some thought. This is not to be taken lightly.