Instagram's Privacy Policy: 10 Reasons Users Must Remain Vigilant

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-12-19 Print this article Print

5. Any photo can potentially be sold

Whether Instagram wants to admit it or not, the company’s terms of service clearly state that it wants to use photos in a person’s profile for financial gain. Although Instagram might not physically own the photos, just the fact that it asserts that it has a license to sell them for financial gain is troublesome, considering a large number of the site’s images were created by professionals who want to control the copyrights for the images they created and market them for their own gain.

6. Another revenue method will crop up

Even if Instagram dramatically changes its terms, the company will come up with some other way to make money of the content of its site. When it does so, there’s an exceedingly strong chance that the average user will get hurt. Unfortunately, the social world is rife with these kinds of issues, as companies that grow rapidly try to find a way to monetize their services.

7. Precedents are very, very bad things

Make no mistake: there are several photo-sharing apps out there that are watching what Instagram is doing. If the company can find a way to skate by, there’s a good chance that all of those companies follow its strategy. Instagram could very well become the benchmark by which all other privacy policies and terms are based.

8. This could take Instagram down

National Geographic, one of Instagram’s biggest supporters, has already said that it will not use the service until the company works out the privacy and use issues to its satisfaction. Many celebrities and other opinion-drivers are saying the same. It’s possible that if Instagram can’t put out the flames soon, it will compromise its business.

9. Instagram’s not backing off…that much

In a blog post reacting to the outcry, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom made clear that his company doesn’t own a person’s photos. However, he didn’t back off his company’s desire to raise cash and “create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.” In other words, while some things might change in the next revision, Instagram isn’t fully going back to the way things were.

10. The sale goes beyond photos

Anyone that believes this is solely about photos is mistaken. Instagram wants to be able to take every last bit of a person’s profile—their identity, their actions, and their photos—and use those for its advertising efforts. Photos are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s about time everyone realizes that.

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