News Column

Instagram Can Sell Your Pics Without Permission

Dec 18, 2012

Scott Kleinberg

Are you OK with Instagram using your photos in ads without your permission and without being compensated for it?

Come Jan. 16, you may not have a choice.

That's when Instagram's new privacy policy and terms of service take effect. And according to reaction online, this fine print is not so fine.

Instagram starts by explaining that some portions of its offerings may be supported by advertisers. That's typical. What's not so typical is this statement:

"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.

That translates to this: While Instagram still says you own your photos, the company owns the right to use your photos wherever it sees fit without informing you. To agree to the terms, all you need to do is log in to the site. And because the minimum age to use the site is 13, that means photos of teens as well as adults are subject to the new rules.

Currently, there is no way to opt out of this policy, unless you consider deleting your account before Jan. 16 a solution. The only way to ensure your photos won't be used is to turn your public account private. The legal terms state: "Content not shared publicly ("private") will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services."

Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, made changes to its terms of service last week.

Source: (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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