Instagram to sell people's Christmas snaps under new privacy policy?

By Peter Gothard
18 Dec 2012 View Comments

Instagram is preparing to start selling its users' own photos, according to its updated privacy policy published this week. 

The new policy for the photo-sharing service suggests that members' photos may be sold to advertisers in paid promotional content deals, without users enjoying any remuneration. 

Further reading

Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for $1bn (£616m), is stating in its freshly updated policy that it "may share [users'] information as well as information from tools like cookies, log files, and device identifiers and location data with organisations that help us provide the service to you [as well as] third-party advertising partners". 

Instagram's terms of use also state that in order to help the service, which runs largely as an app-based network on mobile devices, "deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions", Instagram users must surrender use of their "user name, likeness [and] photos" in connection with "paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation".

According to a company statement, the reason for these changes is to "build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used", and specifically to "fight spam more effectively" and "detect system and reliability problems more quickly". 

Whether these rules will eventually graduate to Facebook users as well - especially as the site's new November privacy policy extended information sharing to Instagram - should they successfully take hold, remains to be seen, but Instagram users have already expressed their anger at the decision.

Social networking site Twitter has come alive with recriminating messages from users swearing that they will close their accounts before the 16 January 2013 deadline, when the new usage policies come into force. 

What do you think? Do Instagram and Facebook have a right to keep trying to monetise their brands in these ways, or are they taking liberties with traditions of IP ownership on the internet? Please leave your comments.

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