“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.”
Legalese aside, it meant Instagram could sell your photos to third parties for commercial use without telling you. That’s right – those cute #instapuppy pix and the what-I-had-for-dinner food porn were almost up for grabs, destined for a bus wrap in Jakarta.
Google immediately sought to capitalize on Instagram’s faux pas, with a spokesperson championing users’ intellectual property rights to CNET, “What belongs to you stays yours. … In addition, on Google+ you can export your photos and other data whenever you’d like.”
You’d think Facebook would have learned from Yahoo’s infamous photo-rights fiasco in 2007, when its so-called “brand portal” for the Nintendo Wii used Flickr images without permission. Yahoo blinked. Instagram did too. It remains to be seen how many Instagrammers deleted their accounts before CEO Kevin Systrom broke his silence and begged for forgiveness. “I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion,” said Systrom, in a blog post. He went on to say Instagram has no intention of selling user photos and that the offending language will be removed from the policy.