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Instagram announces U-turn after celebrity-led user backlash against user's picture rightsControversial sections of new policy reverted to their original form after massive backlash among users
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom apologises for failure to 'communicate our intentions clearly'Kim Kardashian among the string of high-profile users who had publicly spoken out against the new terms
18:10 GMT, 21 December 2012
Instagram has abandoned wording in its new terms-of-service agreement that sparked outcry from users who feared it meant their photos could appear in advertisements.
In a blog post published late last night, the popular mobile photo-sharing service says it has changed back the advertising section of its terms of service to the original wording.
There was outrage this week after the app published new terms on Monday which appeared to give it rights over all its users' photos and data to promote 'sponsored content'.
Anyone who did not agree with the new terms were invited to delete their accounts.
U-turn: Instagram has announced it will abandon controversial sections of its new terms of service after a celebrity-led user backlash against wording that appeared to give it rights over uploaded photos
But the aggressive strategy failed when a string of high-profile celebrities users, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian and actor Seth Green, took to Twitter to say they would delete their Instagram accounts.
The service's celebrity users were among the many to join a chorus of criticism as a widespread media and public backlash gathered pace.
Instagram, which allows people to add filters and effects to photos and share them easily on the Internet, was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $715million (440million).
In a blog post last night, Instagram
co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom apologised for a failure to
'communicate our intentions clearly.'
terms of service changes pertaining to advertising have been reversed,
he said, and restored to what they had been before the changes announced
terms also appear to omit a controversial provision which had stated
that if a child under the age of 18 used the service, it implied his or
her parent had tacitly agreed to Instagram's terms.
Apology: Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom published a blog late last night where he announced the policy reversal
However, the new terms still contain a mandatory arbitration clause, which is not included in terms of service for other leading social media companies like Twitter, Google, YouTube or even Facebook itself.
That immunises Instagram from many forms of liability, according to legal experts.
Internet experts said Instagram had been very aggressive in asserting its rights to user information and inviting anyone who did not agree to delete their accounts within a few weeks.
The updated terms still say that anyone who accesses Instagram agrees to be bound by the new terms which are slated to go into effect on January 19.
Also, Instagram kept language which gave it the ability to place ads in conjunction with user content, and 'that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.'
Outrage boiled over after Instagram adopted several sections from Facebook's terms of service which seemed to reveal how it hoped to operate as a profitable business in the future.
Foremost among them was the company allowing itself to put users' names, likenesses, photos and actions online next to any product it is paid to promote.
Instagram's home page describes the service as 'free', however the new terms made clear that users effectively hand over the rights to their pictures and personal information as a quid pro quo in exchange for access.
Clause two of updated the Rights section of Instagram's new terms of service said: '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 this seemed to mean was that Instagram can now takes its users' identities and data and put them next to any business partner who pays for the privilege of advertising on the site.
Angry: Amongst those threatening to leave Instagram are Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Khloe Kardashian
Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Natasha Bedingfield and Jordin Sparks were among the string of celebrities who lined up to criticise the move on Twitter.
'YIKES! /12/19/article-2250443-169311AC000005DC-648_634x610.jpg” width=”634″ height=”610″ alt=”'I really loved Instagram': Kim uses the photo ap to take and share countless photos from her life” class=”blkBorder” />
'I really loved Instagram': Kim uses the photo ap to take and share countless photos from her life
Following the outcry at the new terms, the photo-sharing app immediately moved to water down the new terms, with Mr Systrom writing a blog post addressing the issue entitled 'Thank you, and we're listening', where he said the company had heard 'loud and clear' from 'confused and upset' users.
Yesterday the language that had appeared to allow Instagram advertisers to display user photos without compensation have been removed from updated terms of service.
Instagram representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr Systrom stressed in his latest blog post that the company had no intention of selling the photos that users post on the service.
'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,' he said.
DELETED YOUR ACCOUNT THE SIX BEST INSTAGRAM ALTERNATIVES
Flickr: The original photo-sharing site has just updated its iPhone app for the first time in two years to include Instagram-like filters for the first time. iOS – Free
Hipstamatic: The 'OG of alt camera apps', according to Gizmodo. The app aims to recreate the analogue effect within digital photography and is expandable with a range of 'lenses'. iOS – Free
100 Cameras In 1: Includes 100 effects to add to your photos in a fast, simple app. Not linked to its own sharing service but allows users to share via email, Twitter and Facebook. iOS – $1
Camera+: A more professional feel than Instagram, this app includes a range of editing options that extend beyond simple filters. iOS – $1
Camera Awesome: Hailed as the 'iPhone app that Instagram and Apple could learn from', Camera Awesome can share pictures to your favourite social networks without even a button tap. iOS – Free
Path: The answer to those who fear too much social media exposure, this filter app's community limits you to 150 friends. It syncs with the major networks as well as Nike+. iOS/Android – Free