Instagram caused quite a splash this week, the company has been on every news site since the release of their new Terms of Service. Set to become active on January 16, the terms include the obvious move to sharing information with new parent company, Facebook, but the controversial clause reads as follows:
“Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. 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. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.
You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”
The reactions to the new terms were so intense and immediate that co-founder Kevin Systrom released a clarification letter within the app and on the company’s blog. While the letter does disperse some concern, the terms have not yet been updated.
Instagram is not selling your photos, but they are aiming to function like Facebook does, through the use of “Sponsored Stories.” In your Facebook Newsfeed, you often see products or brands that were “Liked” by your friends. Instagram is proposing a strategy to use their target market to expand itself. It is a well-known fact that users are more likely to engage with content that is implicitly endorsed by someone familiar to them, or in the case of Instagram, someone they follow. It is not your image that is being sold, but your tastes and social actions. The company wouldn’t be producing ads that include your images, but would use your “Likes” and shared content to determine what to include in your and your friends’ Home Feed.
Still want to jump ship? Check out these Instagram alternatives, and tell us your thoughts on the new terms in the comments!