We knew that Facebook’s acquisition would bring about some big changes, even though Facebook and Instagram both underplayed that aspect when the deal was done. Last week or so, we saw that there were indications that Facebook would share user data with Instagram soon enough. Today, Instagram has announced an update to its existing policy to confirm the user data sharing with Facebook and Facebook owned companies.
The new policy says that Instagram will be able to sell all the public photos which have been hosted on its service to advertisers or third parties without taking any permissions from the users in addition to not paying them for the images. This implies that Instagram will become a huge database of nicely enhanced photos which can be licensed by third parties, sort of like Getty and iStockphoto. The biggest difference between Instagram and these other stock photo site is that Instagram users will not be paid any financial compensation for their images. The policy however states that users own their own photos on Instagram. We are of course speculating here, but legally this is what could happen.
Besides this another section in the policy mentions that Facebook and Instagram will not be liable to respond to class action lawsuits arising out of privacy screw-ups and accidental information disclosures.
One really weird thing in the policy is the fact that Instagram will not denote promotional material, ads and other such sponsored content as ads. Thus users will not be able to tell between ads and real content. This is really a deal breaker!
Users have till January 16th, 2013 to accept these new terms. Those who do not agree will have to delete their accounts before this date. If you delete your account after this date, then Facebook will have the right to monetize all your public images on Instagram.
Personal Opinion: Instagram is a heavily overvalued company. The app just beautifies photos and does not signify a huge revolution in the tech industry. I have no idea why there is so much talk about Instagram and its success(!) after its acquisition. I understand that the service has got to monetize but I don’t think setting up policies like this will help the company. There has already been some outrage about Instagram’s policy changes on the Internet with some people threatening to delete their Instagram accounts. Another point to note is that Facebook may not end up selling user’s photos to 3rd parties but the policy states that they can, which clearly goes against users.
What is your take on these new policies by Instagram? Share your views with us in the comments.