When Instagram got acquired by Facebook 8 months ago many Instagram users and other tech pundits were voicing their concern about how far Instagram could stay true to its original vision, and how much influence that Facebook would force upon its new subsidiary.
Of course, we, the loyal users quickly brushed off all doubts, and joined in the celebration of allegedly the most expensive acquisition to date (a billion dollar and all).
But, as anybody who had been acquisitions (I had … 3 times) would tell you, no acquisition is simple and straightforward, and unfortunately some things have to give, especially with a billion dollar invoice stamps on it.
So far, in the past 8 months, there had been no hint as to what kind of ‘things’ need to be sacrificed as offerings, until now.
On Monday, every Instagram User would notice an additional notification at the top of their News Page, explaining that Instagram has been making improvement and updating their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and it also provides a link for anybody who wants to read more about it.

The Read More page actually contains only a summary of what might be expected from this new TOS.
Naturally, Instagram has taken steps to ensure that what have been described on that page would reflect positively towards them, and if you only read this summary (and not the whole terms), you would be forgiven if you think that all the changes are indeed for the best of the customer. Except that that is not entirely true, and you have to read the whole new TOS to understand this.
Let’s start with the positive things. For a start, there is nothing change in regard of the ownership of the photos that you upload, bare in mind that this new TOS will be in effect from the 6th of January 2013, so your photos uploaded before this date are not affected. Though in the ownership case, there is nothing change, you are still the owner of your photo (provided that it is yours).
The second thing they mentioned is about information sharing between Instagram and its parent .. Facebook. Instagram is quickly pointing out that this sharing is good for fighting spam, detecting problems quicker and building a better features for everyone. Remember, come the 16th of January, all your personal info, your photos and activities are shared to Facebook, in which turn will be able to do anything with the data. More about this later.
Lastly, Instagram said that these changes will help protect the user and prevent spam and abuse. These are all nice words, especially amidst the mountaining amount of spams and bots that Instagram users must suffer lately. It’s just that I wished Instagram could elaborate more on this.
These are the points that Instagram wants to convey to the users, and nobody will blame them if after reading this they suddenly feel hopeful, and feel no inclination to read further.
Well, I’m glad I didn’t just stop there, I did however try to read the whole TOS, and what I found was quite disturbing to the point that after these 2 and odd years I’ve been with Instagram, I am beginning to question my loyalty. This is true especially after reading clause number 2, a new one in that, under the ‘RIGHTS’ heading.
Here, finally we find a hint of what Instagram is planning for the future, in particular about advertising. Instagram says that some of all the service provided would get supported via Advertising. This is actually fine by me, after all the users had been able to use the service without paying a penny, and Instagram as a subsidiary needs to bring in some value to its parent.
But here is the thing, this ads, whichever form it takes, will be allowed to show the users info, including photos and activities, for their own purpose (related to the sponsorship) without compensation to the users.
In other words, Instagram is selling your info and your photos, to the advertisers, without paying you anything!
The worst thing is, Instagram will have no obligation to tell you if such operation even exists and whether your info are in it! Your photos are in some kind of ads and you wouldn’t have a clue.

Below is an excerpt from those clauses:

As I told you, this statement has made me re-thinking my allegiance to Instagram. Will it be still worth it to post your photos, knowing that in any moment, your photos might appear somewhere unexpectedly.
Already some fellow IGers saying that they would not use Instagram anymore come the 16th of January. And I can say, after this, I don’t think they will be alone.
In all honesty, for the majority of Instagram ‘casual users’ this will not affect them slightly. But for anybody else, the loyal users who are normally the ones who’ve been using Instagram almost after its birth, this seems to be the last nail on Instagram coffin. People have been openly saying that Instagam is not like it used to be, and searching for a good excuse to delete their account and leave. And the new TOS changes might be all the excuse they need to do just that.

What do you think about these new Terms? Would you leave or stay?

To read the full text of the New Instagram Terms of Use you can visit here.

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