Instagram Says It Can Sell Your Photos Without Permission or Notification

You are online and to your surprised yo see a photo of one of your children in an ad for a product you don’t approve of. How could this happen? Do you use Instagram? As of January 16, 2013, Instagram claims the right to sell your photos to anyone they choose without paying you or notifying you. You will have no control over who the photos are sold to or how they will be used. And you won’t be notified.

This is a new change in the user agreement since Facebook acquired Instagram. You have until January 15 to delete your account if you don’t like the new user agreement. There is no way to “opt out”.

While Instagram says it is not their intent to sell your photos, the terms of service say:  “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.”

In my opinion, this is a stupid move. It is akin to the greed-motivated photo contests where you sign away all rights to any photos submitted to the contest, whether or not you win. In fact this is worse since it happens behind your back. If I had photos on Instagram, I would remove all of them by January 15 and delete my account if the new user agreement isn’t changed.  If they have any sense, Facebook will change their minds about this policy.

Read the whole story in this article at CNET  and in this New York Times article.

UPDATE TUESDAY EVENING: After an outpouring of complaints, Instagram apologized for “confusing” language in the terms of service and is going to revise them.  More at