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About This Instagram ToS Update.

If you’re a frequent user of Instagram, then you may have heard about the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy update that is penciled in for January, 2013. To sum it up, Instagram, purchased by Facebook some three months ago to the tune of $1 billion, is attempting to “borrow” your photos and sell them to third party companies. Your photos will then be used in a manner that directly relates to a company’s product. CNET’s Declan McCullagh had a great example of how this will work. 

That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo.

By updating their ToS and PP, Instabook will become the largest stock photo distributor in the world, without having to do any work at all. Now, informed people are reasonably a little upset/confused about why their pictures will all of a sudden have price tags on them. From some perspective, you can’t really argue with Facebook for trying to make money back on that large of an investment. What did you think their plans were when they threw down that much money? A simple integration between the two services? Let’s not be naive.

Now, as for me, I wasn’t making money from my hundreds of “Thor and Loki” pictures anyways, so have at them Facebook. For what seems like thousands of other people who are putting their photography portfolios online, this may seem much more damaging. If you fear for your work, host it on your own and delete your account. Users have until January 16 to delete their accounts and back out of the new terms before the company takes “control” over the photos.

Please, read the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and get yourself informed.

Will you continue to use Instagram in the event of this updated policy or have you already deleted your account?


Cheers everyone who sent this in!


    If you post penis pictures or vag will they sell them to porn sites?

  • bravmo

    I uninstalled Instagram from my IPhone and my android devices….
    I will use another service…….

  • Alan Paone

    The new terms of service are BETTER for users than the old ones. Read them and stop being whiney little bitches.

  • Cedres


  • itsgonnalast

    Interesting that Facebook denied this rumor in 2009, only to make it come true in 2012 via Facebook-owned Instagram.

  • eckdawg5

    Pretty sure the before and after pics of my boxer’s neutering won’t be sold to anyone… I’m not worried

  • Does this apply to Facebook too?

  • I’m countering this by filling my account with pictures of my ass.

  • Yep

    Honestly, I could care less. If someone wants to sell the countless stupid pictures I have on my facebook and instagram, all essentially of my dog and other pointless stuff… then who cares? Do all of you have such personal photos on there that you are that concerned? If you really care that much, just don’t put up photos that you feel are so sensitive. Maybe If I was a professional photographer I would be pissed, but lets be honest, are any of you commenting here a professional photographer? Doubt it

  • MonkeyWork

    This is how all these ‘free’ services work. Don’t get indignant after the fact. Read TOS very carefully if it’s an issue for you (I have for years).

    Remember, if it’s free, you’re the product. Take it from them, or start paying for stuff.

    I’d also try going over your Android contract with Google, your Gmail, any cloud services, Microsoft, Apple, ask why Radio Shack asks for your personal info… If this is a story for you, you’ve been sleeping for a long time.

  • Xavier Davis

    They can’t sell. More of a promote post kinda like sponsored posts in Facebook.


  • Devin Dombrowski

    Already deleted my account and FB is probably next on the list.

  • Fattie McDoogles

    There should be some sort of per user compensation. Hotels that use my vacation pics should give me a discount or my room next stay. Same goes for bars and airlines. I don’t think most people should get cash or anything like that, but a discount or a comped service isn’t too much to ask for.

  • quiklives

    I think the problem for non-professional photogs isn’t about money, it’s that the legalese in the update seems to imply that even photos originally marked private are free game for this, as they stress *ANY* content is theirs to use.

  • Lucky Armpit

    Wow… CNet posted something useful….?

  • itsgonnalast

    lol it’s funny, I had an Instagram account for about a week. I signed up when it was released for Android, and deleted my account once Facebook bought it.

    With this news I’m glad Instagram never became a habit for me.

  • RocketPunch

    I think this less of an issue about being paid but more about no knowing how people who bought your pictures will use them.

    Imagine your perfectly healthy child became the poster boy for drug company that manufacture drugs for children with mental illness, or condom company that uses your teenage daughters bikini photos in a national TV commercial or some anti domestic abuse organization using your mother’s photo for mail fliers in your neighborhood and nationally.

    ……..ALL without your consent and you knowing about it.

    • MonkeyWork

      The problem is you’ve given your consent. Read the legal stuff.

  • br_hermon

    Ok so… wouldn’t it be more damaging to Instagram or facebook or whomever you decide to delete your account with if instead of deleting your account, just gut it, remove all the photos and keep the account open. Before you know it, Instagram, Facebook and others are just empty ghost towns with nothing of real value to offer their “third-party” customers? Seems to me that’s a better way to stick it to them then just up and leave.

  • Paradisimo

    Why not make it worth the customers while? Offer to pay the user a couple of bucks for every time one of their pictures is used and charge $5-10 for the license. With this type of model you would actually encourage people to add to the photo vault as opposed to encouraging them to take their photos elsewhere.

  • Jojo

    I really like Droid Life and follow it religiously because of this type of dialog about the evolution of social media.

    Q: Any way I can access Droid Life’s Privacy Policy?