December 18, 2012
You may have noticed a new "Terms and Conditions" agreement pop up on your Instagram feed and, since it's 2012 and who even cares, you probably just agreed to it and went on snapping pictures of breakfast. You might want to go back and give it a quick read-through, though, because it is insane:
To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, 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.
So, to sum up, Instagram can now just sell your pictures to anyone. You don't have to know who. You don't even have to know about it. And here's the crazy part: You can't opt out. Either you agree to these terms or you go back to taking pictures the old, boring way. With a camera. Of course, Instagram's just trying to do what every website is: stay alive. It's not easy to stay financially afloat when your service doesn't cost a dime—especially as that service gets more popular and you've got to pay to keep up with demand. It all goes to show something that Metafilter user blue_beetle once wrote, in what is undoubtedly the world's only famous Internet comment: "If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer. You're the product being sold" ...