No matter how much you tell people that “If You’re Not Paying for It; You’re the Product” — they never really listen. The natives have spoken and the chiefs at the Instagram HQ have listened. In an effort to placate the restless Instagramers the company has decided to revert back to its original advertising section, which has been in effect since 2010.
Earlier this week the photo sharing service saw uproar from its users when it made additions to the advertising section of its terms of service. The changes stated that it would give advertisers more flexibility in using photos, user names and likenesses in ads.
“The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos,” wrote Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom a blog post.
The ambiguity around the language of the new terms of service caused a fair amount of raucous with users threatening to leave the service as they were worried their images would be sold to advertisers. Celebrities and major organisations raised their concerns around the legalese. National Geographic suspended its Instagram page within a day of the message before the update kicked in.
Wanna-be movie star and reality television show staple, Kim Kardashian, tweeted her disappointment and intent to review the apparent unfairness of the new terms of service:
I really loved Instagram :-( I need to review this new policy. I don’t think its fair.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) December 18, 2012
However Systrom, in his post, tries to address all the concerns that users have:
“There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work,” he wrote. “Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”
The reverted adverting section of the terms of service reads:
Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you
The new one that caused the all the trouble read:
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.
What is quite silly about the whole thing that the new terms of service actually protected users better than the original one. It actually gave Instagram less license with your photographs as it took away the ability to place ads directly on your photos. Instagram hasn’t changed the section which allows it to place adverts in its apps that aren’t identified as ads.
Well done Instagram complainers: thanks to you now the Facebook-owned company can now place ads for catnip on my beautiful filtered sunset shots. I bet you none of the complainers actually read the original terms of service.