Dec 18, 2012

Can I stop Instagram from selling my photos?

I'm seeing red after reading the new terms of service that helpfully tell me that Instagram will sell my:
"...username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata) and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."

You know what - thanks but no thanks. I used to like Instagram, but I'm not going to agree to this. Is there an opt-out hidden somewhere or any other way to avoid this? I'm not about to let myself and family become unpaid models for whoever Instagram decides to sells my photos to.

Your best bet is to stop using the service ASAP. Remove your data and move on.

Apparently lawsuits have already been launched.

Instagram users launch class action lawsuit

"A LAWSUIT filed in the US seeks to stop Instagram from changing its terms of service, saying the Facebook-owned smartphone photo-sharing service is breaching its contract with users.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Southern California-based law firm of Finkelstein and Krinsk claimed class action status and called on the federal court to bar Instagram from changing its rules.

"Instagram is taking its customers property rights while insulating itself from all liability," the law firm said in the suit, which also demanded that the service pay its legal fees.

"In short, Instagram declares that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law and if you don't like it, you can't stop us,'" the complaint said.

Changes to the Instagram privacy policy and terms of service had included wording that allowed for people's pictures to be used by advertisers at Instagram or Facebook worldwide, royalty-free."

Stylor has good advice. I'll just add this: For nearly every social platform I can think of, users (or members) and their data are the product. We are there to be monetized.


It may be a misinterpretation of the TOS. It is a little unclear what Instagram is actually saying. The Wall Street Journal had a piece about that yesterday:



I read beyond that section of the TOS and there are still clauses that say you own your images. I think this may be a case of a cautious legal department writing a TOS to cover some of the things that are inherent in online social media advertising, but doing it in a way that blows people's minds when read out of context. I'd wager we will see a revision within the week. 


If you are really concerned about it, you can download your photos and close your account.  That is the only way I know to "opt-out" and it's what Instagram deserves for making this change. 


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