Instagram has made recent changes to its terms and conditions that haven’t quite gone below the radar. Eagle eyed users have spotted some additions that are more than unsavoury, and have the aim of highlighting them to as many other users as possible.
The new terms and conditions will come into effect in January of next year, and they’ve already enraged a good portion of the service’s user base. A brief look will ring alarm bells for many, but give the new rules a closer look and you’ll likely find more to your disliking.
The number one “what the…” moment comes from this little excerpt;
“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.”
To put that into layman’s terms; Instagram will be able to use your pictures, username and actions – comments, likes, etc. – to promote the service in any way it likes. So in theory, you could see one of your photo uploads appearing on Instagram’s website or perhaps even in an in-app advert on other people’s phones. The company won’t have to ask your permission, nor will it have to pay you in any way.
Furthermore, Instagram wants to introduce adverts, but it doesn’t want to have to identify them clearly as adverts;
“You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content or commercial communications as such.”
Combine those two together and you have Instagram being able to use your photos to make sneaky adverts, using you to promote a product but make you look like you really like it, rather than using a traditional and obvious advert method.
There is of course the other issue; Instagram can sell your pictures and there’s nothing you can do about it. We don’t think that’s something they’re likely to do, however. The new terms and conditions smell strongly of the company not caring about its users.
If you’re now thinking of switching photo sharing service, and there are plenty more out there – Flickr and PicsArt, for example – then there are ways to download all of your Instagram uploads, comments and other data. Check out our guide on exporting your Instagram photos, likes and comments right here.