Don’t Like Instagram’s New Terms Of Service & Privacy Policy? Quitting Is The Only Way Out



It seems like every week users of social network Instagram have been seeing more and more changes, all leading the service down the merry path toward becoming more and more like its parent company, Facebook. There was the Twitter card break-up, followed by the revelation that yes, Instagram would get ads. And now the service has updated its terms of service and privacy policy in ways that might see a whole lot of users fleeing for good.

Quitting Instagram and deleting your account is the only way to opt out of the updated policies that the company unveiled yesterday. If you’re like any normal person ever, you probably haven’t read through either of the changed documents. But you should understand what changes will take place starting Jan. 16.

The new terms outline how Instagram to use your photos (because yes, they want to use your photos of furry friends, feet, food and clouds to make money somehow) as well as how Facebook can use them.

Some of the changes include the below:

• Instagram can share any information about its users with Facebook and it doesn’t stop there — outside affiliates and advertisers will also be privy to such info. It’s supposed to be all about integrating Instagram more easily with Facebook, but it will also allow any advertisers on Facebook a peek into where you often take pictures or which bands you go see, so you’ll eventually get ads targeted to those likes.

• Remember Sponsored Stories? Of course you do. Something similar could happen now, as the TOS say Instagram can use your photos and identity in ads: “You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your 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.”

• What looks like photo might actually be an ad, and there might not be any way to tell the difference.:“You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such”

If any or all of this sounds awful to you, there’s just one way to opt out — get out of Dodge. And by that we mean, give up on those filters and delete your account. Even if you log in on your computer or a tablet or anything Instagram, you’re agree to have your content used in ads.

But don’t worry, this is really all about protecting you from spam, the company writes in a blog post accompanying the changes.

“Our updated terms of service help protect you, and prevent spam and abuse as we grow,” the company wrote.

Considering the backlash over privacy issues relating to changes Facebook has tried to impose lately, we’re hopeful that enough users and advocates will fight back against these new rules. Or maybe we will have to learn to like those Twitter photo filters.

What Instagram’s New Terms of Service Mean for You [New York Times]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.