News Column

Instagram Decides to Share Likeness, Irks Loyal Users

Dec. 18, 2012

Users of the photo-sharing app Instagram reacted angrily Tuesday to changes in privacy protection that would allow the company to sell their photographs to advertisers.

The changes were detailed in an update to Instagram's terms of service, and were dubbed a "suicide note" by one influential user in an online tirade against the company which was bought earlier this year by Facebook for 1 billion dollars.

The update said that Instagram may show ads on the site and share data with Facebook. The most controversial update stated that "a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos and/or any actions you take without any compensation to you."

Clayton Cubbitt, a New York photographer who is one of the site's most influential users, said in a message posted on the site that the change in the terms of service represented "Instagram's suicide note. Other users, including pop star Pink, said they would close their Instagram account and share their pictures on one of the many competing services.

Analyst Michael Gartenberg said that Instagram was widely expected to start monetizing its service, but may have taken things too far.

"While consumers may be okay with ad-supported services, providing content, sometimes personal, for ads may well cause a backlash for both Instagram and Facebook," Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner Inc., told dpa.

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Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH