What Instagram Privacy Changes Mean For You

Saturday, January 5, 2013
When I first began using Instagram a little over 2 years ago, I fell in love immediately. As I am a pathological taker of pictures, it was just the sort of photography app that I was looking for. I was hooked, sometimes posting up to 25 pictures a week. What did I love most about Instagram? It was everyday people turning ordinary pictures into extraordinary photos.

And then Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012. "OK, I can deal with this.", I said. And the love affair continued. I snapped away, shared, and loved seeing the creative spins others put on everyday pictures.

And then in December it happened. As is typical of Facebook, Instagram made an announcement that its privacy policies would be changing effective January 16, 2013. Not so bad, right? Well, there's more. Much more.

I consulted the "Rights" section in its new "Terms of Use". It reads as follows:

"Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service's Privacy Policy, available here http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/, including but not limited to sections 3 ("Sharing of Your Information"), 4 ("How We Store Your Information"), and 5 ("Your Choices About Your Information"). You can choose who can view your Content and activities, including your photos, as described in the Privacy Policy."

Huh? Oh, that's right. Most of us don't have legal degrees. Let me break it down for you. Instagram does not own your photos. However, if you take a picture using Instagram, Facebook/Instagram have the right to use any and all of your photos as they see fit. Your use of the application hereby gives Facebook the right to sell any of your photos to anyone or any company looking for a cute or fun photo in a Facebook advertisement or elsewhere.
Last November when my family and I went on our annual vacation to a swanky resort on the west coast of Florida, I took tons of pics using Instagram and tagged them with the resort name. Guess what? Instagram can turn around and sell those pictures to the resort for use in their advertorial campaigns. And I don't get a dime. And Instragram is under no legal obligation to inform me that my photo was used.
So, I deleted my Instagram account a week ago. I don't know about you, but I don't need the pictures of my children showing up in the Facebook sidebar. Here's the kicker. Your use of Instagram after January 16 constitutes an agreement between you and Instagram that you accept these terms, that you are OK with their using/selling or possibly not using or selling your photos. No, thanks. I don't want to take my chances.
What options do you have? The only option is to delete your Instagram account by January 15, 2013.. Which, by the way, can be done only from a laptop or desktop computer. You cannot delete your account from your smart phone. If you leave your account up on January 16, Instagram has rights to any/all of your photos.
I'm not going to lie, I am bummed about this. I loved Instagram. I miss Instagram. But I respect my privacy and that of my family. And I respect my integrity. I've taken some pretty cool pictures that I could sell for some money. Maybe not big bucks, but I could get a few bills for some of my pictures. My only choice was to delete my account.
To delete your Instagram account, go to www.instagram.com. Scroll to the bottom  and click "Your Account". Log in using your Instagram credentials. Choose "Delete Your Instagram Account".

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