Instagram reverts back to old Terms of Service – Quells user complaints but are we really better off?


Looks like everyone got what they wanted — Instagram has officially conceded defeat, reverting their new Terms of Service — that wasn’t going into effect until January 16th — back to their old one. The company said in a blog post today:

Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010. You can see the updated terms here.

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.

You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content. I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.

The strangest part about the whole fiasco is that the old Terms of Service everybody wanted to go back to actually gave Instagram more leeway in what they were allowed to do with users’ photos in regard to advertisements. The now rejected Terms of Service was more restrictive, only allowing Instagram to sell ads with users’ photos “in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions.” This is similar to what we see today in Facebook’s sponsored posts. Nothing too wild or crazy there. In fact, where’s the backlash from Facebook users?

Meanwhile, their old — soon-to-be current — Terms of Service gives Instagram the right to place ads directly onto your ‘grams (something the rejected ToS everyone went ape sh*t over actually prevented). Ouch. Today’s announced, newly revised Terms of Service going into effect on January 19th, 2013 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.

See? The old one was bad, the new one — that’s now been rejected — was good. That’s not to say Instagram really will place a Valtrex logo on your bathroom selfies starting in January. The outcry from users would be even louder than what we saw on Tuesday. But starting January 19th, apparently they’ll have every right to. Looks like the users officially screwed the pooch on that one.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Ppl r f**king retarded.

  2. The initial panic posts from the tech press and clueless users are equally responsible for this BS.

  3. The same mechanic that caused this to take place, is the same mechanism that Apple taps into to sell their products… and that’s simply what i’ll call the mass media reality distortion field. Which says if enough people are saying the same things about something it absolutely must be true, they won’t do the research , just follow general consensus. Boy, the times we live in…

    1. You sir have intelligence…I thank you from my heart for using it.

  4. I think it would be cool to see an app that promised to pay the users a fee for using their photo’s. so, take an instagram-like app, let users flag pics private or available and then if one of their pics gets chosen to be “sold” for an ad they get a cut. everyone wins. people who don’t want their pics used just set the default to unavailable, people who don’t care or aspire to freelance photog can set themselves as available and maybe make a little change. i wouldn’t say anything huge, the company has to make it’s money but something might be nice.

    1. You establish that, sir, and you’d have more money than you’d know what to do with. EDIT: Better get started with that before someone steals your clever idea.

  5. in any case, best to avoid instagram like the plague, now that it is infected by “there is no privacy” facebook.

    1. Privacy is illusion. And if I had to choose, I’d go with Instagram. All they have is pictures of your lunch. Facebook….. now that’s a lot different.

      1. The reason privacy is an illusion is because people say it is so. If people were to get downright ticked off every time privacy was encroached on… Well companies and the government, if your one of the tin foil hat types, would be weary to step all over it. People get mad, results are produced, for good or bad.

  6. God bless amurica! Yee haw

  7. I’m better off because this caused me to take a look at the Instagram TOS, old and new. I had not done this before; shame on me. I didn’t like the TOS new or old and decided to delete my Instagram account and never looked back. Know what, I don’t really miss it.

  8. Bad photographers are bad readers too? Hmmm…

  9. It’s instacrap… square downrezed photos with crap filters posted on a free for all site. I don’t think users were better off when the service first started.

  10. Whether the new TOS were better than the old doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that the public outcry over the new TOS raised awareness of the TOS – both old and new – and gave users cause to evaluate their continued use of the service.

  11. they lost a lot of users when they did that

  12. How is this Android news?

  13. monkey see monkey do. that’s how human sheep are. instead of reading, they see the rest of their sheep friends crying tears of something they don’t understand and they fall right in line and follow.

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