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Should you be worried about Instagram's new policies?

Last updated on: December 20, 2012 15:00 IST

Should you be worried about Instagram's new policies?

Sumit Gupta/

The picture sharing site Instagram has stirred up the hornet's nest with its renewed user policies. What does that mean for the everyday user? Sumit Gupta tells you just that.

Facebook owned Instagram, a famous picture sharing social network declared on Tuesday that it will use the user's photographs in advertisement with the purpose of making advancement in monetary gain. Moreover, they also plan to remove language from its new terms of service.

The updated policies which were announced on Monday have led to heavy commotion and screech among the users. The policies were scheduled to come in to effect from January 16, 2013.

These protests on the internet, by the users haven't gone in total vain. After many threaten to file a lawsuit against Facebook and delete their account from Instagram, the company withdrew its policy.

It has been quite clear that Instagram was created only for the purpose of business expansion. There is no doubt that it would like to try new and unknown methods, with various forms of advertisements, to make money. Currently Instagram isn't bringing any profit to Facebook, but it is a potential source of generating huge revenue.

With no ads running on the website, it is a free service till now.

Instagram earlier changed their terms suggesting that they wish to integrate Instagram into Facebook into its ad-serving system which will promote an item by letting the users know that their friends "Like" it. It means that Instagram has all the rights to use your photos to make the market within reach to your friends. In simple words, Instagram can use the photographs to make the paid or sponsored content more appealing to the users

"This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: It is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear. Our main goal is to avoid things likes advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience."  Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram response to this whole situation.

"These services are publicly advertised as 'free,' but the free label masks costs to privacy, which include the responsibility of monitoring how these companies sell data, and even how they change policies over time"  Chris Hoofnagle, director of Information Privacy Programs at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology responded.

Currently terms say that the service can place ads on, about or in conjunction with your Content.

The blog post on Monday gave away little detail on the burning issue, rather it focused on how they can function more easily as a second fiddle to Facebook by letting the flow of information unhindered between the two groups. They suggested that they'd be able to fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used. They blog post also vowed to protect the users and prevent spam and abuse as they social networking site evolves.

Much of last week has seen many talks and tweets about the issue which clearly suggests the unhappiness of users. Clearly, if this goes through, it will force the user to delete their account.

One way, what I feel, can be worked out is if the website take permission from the user to use their photographs with their sponsored content and then cut the user some slack by giving away small amount of  the profit they made. It will make the photographer realise that his/her work is being recognised and also promote photography.

Sumit Gupta is Blogger at He is 21 and perusing Computer Engineering at Thakur College, Mumbai. He is a tech fanatic and loves to cover latest ins and outs of Social Media.