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Instagram's new terms of service: from overreaction to retraction

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Instagram announced some changes to its privacy policy that had users concerned it would be selling their photographs — even though some of the changes were actually improvements. The company backtracked, setting the stage for future tweaks but arguably leaving users worse off in the meantime. Catch up on all the details right here.

6 updates and 786 comments below.

Dec 28 11:15a

Did Instagram actually lose a quarter of its users last week? (update: Instagram says no)

According to one mobile app metrics firm, Instagram appears to be suffering in the wake of its recent terms of service debacle. AppData tracks the number of daily, weekly, and monthly users of apps that can connect to Facebook, and its recent daily data shows a 25 percent decline in daily users of Instagram over the last seven days — previous daily usage counts were nearly 16 million, while the most recent data now shows daily users sitting at about 12.4 million.

AppData was quick to...

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Dec 21 1:15p

Why the Instagram debacle just taught every tech company to be shadier than ever

Last night Instagram announced that it was retracting a controversial terms of service change that was widely and inaccurately interpreted to mean that the company would be selling user photos. "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," founder Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post. "Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did."

T...

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10:28a

Social advertisers spooked by Instagram backlash

Tuesday night, John Bell had to convince his wife not to quit Instagram. At the beginning of the week, she'd been a die-hard user but, like many others, recent changes in the Terms of Service had convinced her it was time to give it up. The awkward part: he’s the global marketing manager of social@ogilvy, the new-media wing of legendary ad firm Ogilvy & Mather. In short, he's one of the guys who's bringing ads to Instagram.

"I told her, 'You're overreacting!'" Bell relayed to The Verge. "But...

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Dec 20 7:33p

Instagram reverts terms of service after public outcry, makes them arguably worse

After changes to its terms of service caused outcry from multiple corners, Instagram has reversed course, announcing that it will be reverting the offending section back to the version in place when the service first launched. The flashpoint was a change to the advertising section; a change in the language gave many the impression that Instagram would be selling users' photos whenever it felt appropriate. "Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising...

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Dec 18 5:01p

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

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...

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2:33p

No, Instagram can't sell your photos: what the new terms of service really mean

You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.

That sentence was added to Instagram's terms of service yesterday, sparking widespread outrage — the most panicked analysis claims Instagram just gave itself permission to sell everyone's photos at will. Even the least icky hypothetical scenarios being tossed around are completely icky: your parents leave a comment on a photo of your...

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Dec 17 8:47a

Instagram debuts new privacy policy, set to share user data with Facebook beginning January 16th

As Instagram prepares to scale under its new ownership by Facebook, the company has provided a preview of changes to its privacy policy and terms of service that will take effect on January 16th, 2013. In-line with Facebook's already-announced data sharing policies -- the company's most recent policy changes enabled it to share data between Instagram and other Facebook-owned entities -- and both Instagram and Facebook say that the new data-sharing policy will help improve their respective...

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