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Instagram says your photos won't end up in ads, after all

The Facebook owned photo app company backpedaled on its announcement after facing enormous backlash

Prachi Gupta
December 19, 2012 9:30PM (UTC)

After the hearing the Internet's audible outcry over Instagram's updated terms of service, which technically give Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, the right to sell users' photo for profit without consent, compensation, or notification, Instragram is backpedaling and revising their terms. Lawyers, reporters and rights activists interpreted the vague language to mean that Instagram will sell its users' photos to ad agencies. Yesterday, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom issued a note saying, "This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing." "We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear," he wrote.

Systrom also assuaged fears of users appearing in ads without their consent:


"The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience."

Systrom wrote that the admittedly unclear terms were meant to convey that "we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram." In other words, it's still unknown what, exactly, the company's intention is, but now we have assurance that at least users won't be seen in ads. Hopefully this time Instagram won't leave it to the media to discover what the changes mean.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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