Instagram makes u-turn over advertising terms

Photo-sharing operator reverts to its previous terms and conditions regarding advertising, following public outcry over changes which were interpreted to allow user photos to be sold.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Instagram will not be making changes to the advertising section of its terms and conditions after all. Instead, the company will revert to the original version of its user agreement which had been in effect since the service launched in October 2010.

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, said in a blog post Friday: "Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work."

Earlier this week, the app developer caused an uproar among its users when it revealed its new terms of services. The updated terms which was supposed to take effect on Jan. 16, 2013, would have allowed Instagram to monetize people's photos posted on the platform to third-parties for advertising.

Upon hearing the announcement, some users threatened to leave the service while others were unmoved.

A day after the proposed changes were revealed, Systrom had issued a clarification admitting the service terms were "confusing". He said the company has no intention of selling user-generated content without compensation or use them for advertisements.

In his blog post, he again apologized for the turn of events: "It became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities--to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that... There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work." 

"I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don't own your photos--you do," he said.

Instagram was bought over by Facebook in April for US$1 billion and is reportedly under pressure to generate money for its parent company. In a separate USA Today report Wednesday, Radar Research analyst Marissa Gluck said Instagram has to build a revenue model after being acquired by Facebook, as the latter has been "under enormous shareholder pressure" to improve its monetization strategies.

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