After an almost immediate outcry and outrage on what seemed to be a rights-grabbing move by the web’s most popular mobile image sharing platform, Instagram apologizes on their initial change in their Terms and Condition and Privacy Statement.
Here’s what Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram mentioned:
First of all, Instagram is a business, this shouldn’t and never be a surprise to any web user as almost all products we use online are meant to be revenue-generating, or at least non-profit.
Advertising on Instagram From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram.
So it seems like it’s another case of misunderstood legal mumbo-jumbo but the legal team of Instagram worded things really poorly for everyone to “misinterpret” the entire statement, so they clarify that:
Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. 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.
So why the whole announcement?
Why bother with the initial announcement in the first place? Well, as they’ve mentioned, Instagram is a business and it needs to generate revenue beyond display ads, and it seems that they’re adopting Facebook’s “Promoted Posts” features for businesses and those who want to use the platform for generating advertisement revenue.
To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.
How about ownership of our photos?
Instagram remains true to their original terms in this regard, as it states:
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.
So there you go, straight from Instagram’s shutter statement on what they really meant on their revised Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statements. Read the whole response here