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Instagram says 'it's not our intention to sell your photos'

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Instagram has just responded to the public outcry over changes to its terms of service today, with co-founder Kevin Systrom writing that the company is "listening," and that "it's not our intention to sell your photos" — to fix the problem, it will update its terms of service. Systrom writes that it will "modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos," and that it has no plans to sell them. Instagram updated its terms of service and privacy policy yesterday, provoking a swath of negative feedback from users who thought that their photos may be sold to other companies, or that their friends, relatives, or selves would be featured in corporate advertisements. But the terms don't legally permit Instagram to sell its photos to anyone; instead, the company has limited rights to display user photos in a way that doesn't create anything new.

"We respect that your photos are your photos. Period."

The company explains that the new terms of service were intended to allow users and brands to promote their photos and accounts "to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following:" for example, to allow users to see which friends follow certain businesses. Instagram writes that it has no plans to allow users photos to be part of advertisements, and that "Instagram users own their content." The company writes that many misinterpreted the changes — confusion that The Verge cleared up in our own analysis — and that some of the charges against the new policies are untrue.

Systrom also addresses privacy settings in its blog post, writing that "nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you've approved to follow you."

"We need to be clear about the changes we make — this is our responsibility to you."

"I am grateful to everyone for their feedback and that we have a community that cares so much," Systrom writes. "We need to be clear about changes we make — this is our responsibility to you." Even if public outcry was largely unwarranted given the facts of the company's TOS, it's a quick contrition for Instagram — but will it allay the concerns of disgruntled users?

The Verge
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