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Instagram Tells Everyone to Relax

Yesterday, Instagram updated its Terms and Conditions in such a way that led everyone to think they were going to start selling your Instagram photos to companies as advertisements. The Internet’s response was to go into Defcon One, with people calling the new conditions “Instagram’s suicide note” and Wired publishing an article on how to rescue your photos and jump ship. The company quickly explained that everyone needed to settle down and that wasn’t what they were trying to say at all, but by then, everything was in a tailspin. So the offending language has been deleted, and CEO Kevin Systrom released a statement saying:

Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. 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. The language we proposed also raised 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.

In the meantime, a few places—including Slate—noted that Instagram’s updated language isn’t so different from the Terms and Conditions on Facebook, Twitter or even YouTube. In each case, the user is guaranteed ownership of what they upload to the site. In each case, the site maintains the prerogative to use your pictures, posts and videos in practically whichever way they see fit. So, in other words, calm down. You’ve already given away the entirety of your online identity …

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