Instagram Co-Founder On #BoycottInstagram Movement: ‘Many Users Are confused and Upset’

Remember when I wrote about Instagram updating their Terms of Service to include a section in which users would have to agree to let their metadata and photos be sold to third party advertisers? Then, remember when everyone jumped aboard the #BoycottInstagram bandwagon via Twitter and started, possibly prematurely, deleting their Instagram accounts?

Kevin Systrom, Co-founder of Instagram, has responded to the outpouring of negative feedback the Facebook-owned company has received over the past few days. At the Instagram blog, Systrom writes:

“Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days.”


“Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.”

Throughout the post, Systrom makes it very clear that “Instagram was created to become a business.” So, for any of you who thought the photo-sharing app was the last bastion of free expression, you’re outta luck.

In terms of advertising, Systrom explains that yes, brands will promote their photos in your Instagram feed. That shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who has seen a promoted Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook post.

 The rumor that Systrom attempts to dispel in this post is that users do not own their photos and that their work can be sold to advertisers. That rumor started because of this portion of Instagram’s updated Terms of Service:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos”

Systrom responds to these speculations saying: “ We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.”

While Systrom doesn’t directly address the fact that photos could potentially be sold to advertisers, he acknowledges them by saying, “Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos.” Systrom is hinting at the fact that your photos most likely won’t be used like a stock library by big advertisers.

So, was deleting your Instagram account a terrible mistake? Probably.

You can check out the full Tumblr post here.

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