Instagram changes course and reverts to original terms of service for advertising

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom thumbnail

Instagram further clarified its terms of service Thursday afternoon, noting that it would be reverting to its old terms of service language that’s been active since 2010 in regards to advertising and scrapping the updated terms released earlier this week that caused so much concern among users. However, the company had already responded to user complaints on Tuesday, clarifying that it did not intend to sell user photos or use them directly as advertisements. That post seemed to quell a good deal of user concern, so it’s unclear why the company took further steps on Thursday.

Instagram originally released the updated terms on Monday, setting off a firestorm of complaints from users who disliked the new terminology that said “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.” The update on Tuesday said the company was listening to its users, had no intention to sell their photos, and would not retain ownership over the images. It said: “We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

But in a blog post Thursday, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote that the company would be going back to the original terminology for advertising-related issues, rather than putting a new terms of service into place as the company said it would Tuesday, and using the original language from 2010:

“Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, 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, and I am focused on making it right.

The concerns we heard about from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos. There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work.

Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010. You can see the updated terms here.”

An Instagram spokeswoman confirmed that the company decided to revert to the old terms of service because it doesn’t yet have immediate advertising plans to put in action, and that they’ll update the language when they do.

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