Instagram Plans to Sell Your Photos Without Telling You


Update: After tremendous backlash, Instagram has backtracked and assured fans it won't be selling their images to be used in ads. The company said that "the language we proposed ... raised the question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we're going to remove the language that raised the question."

It's time to face the facts: For many people, Instagram has taken over, well ... everything. People are more into the app's cool filters than they ever were Facebook statuses, and instead of posting plain old Twitpics, they'd much rather apply a sepia filter to their Christmas tree photo and watch their friends "ooooh" and "ahhhhh" accordingly.

Which is why I'm SERIOUSLY perturbed today to find out that the app is going to bitch slap us all in the face. 


OK, so that's me putting it bluntly. To put it properly, Instagram announced yesterday that as of January 16, they have the right to sell their users' photographs without paying them. Yup, any photo you take after January 16 is theirs for the selling.

But wait, that's MY perfectly cropped and filtered sunset -- NOT YOURS.

Essentially what's going to happen is Instagram is going to turn into a licensing website for companies. Did you visit some dreamy resort in Florida with your fiance and upload a sexy little pic of the two of you on the beach? Well joke's on you lovebirds, because, heck, if that resort wants your photo, they can BUY it from Instagram and you may never know. It could become their major ad campaign. Instagram: 1, you: 0.

What scares me the most about this is think of what could happen to, say, photos of your children. A good friend of mine had a baby not too long ago, and I think she'd be less than pleased that a place she thought was safe to share day-to-day happenings of her pint-sized love muffin with friends, well, isn't.

So the question arises: Will it make us leave? While I don't think I'll sign off the site altogether, I definitely will become more cautious about WHAT I put on there. A picture of two margaritas at happy hour? Doesn't faze me. A shot of me in my bikini? Ha, I'd sooner lose my right leg than see that on a billboard above Times Square. Then again, I'm not sure anyone would want that on a billboard, but eh, you get the point.

Does this new policy announcement make you want to leave Instagram? Does it make you mad?


Images via Emily Abbate, Instagram

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