Instagram Retreats on Privacy Policy Change but Gets Sued Anyway

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Photo-sharing app Instagram announced last Thursday, December 20, 2012 that it will withdraw one of its recent changes to the site's privacy policy following a public backlash. The withdrawn language explicitly permitted third party advertisers to pay Instagram to display a user’s name, images, preferences and photos for advertising purposes (along with any associated metadata) without compensation to the users: “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.”

Two days after implementing the change, Instagram issued a public about-face, saying that the company had “no intention of selling [its users’ content], and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.” In a company blog post entitled “Updated Terms of Service Based on Your Feedback” published on December 20, Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom apologized for the confusion and said that the company will revert to the original advertising terms and will tweak its privacy policy to make it clear that users’ photos will not be used without their consent.

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