Instagram fans balk at use of photos in ads

Facebook, which owns Instagram, provided few details about how it would integrate ads and photos when it announced changes to the company’s terms of service this week. 

Associated Press

Facebook, which owns Instagram, provided few details about how it would integrate ads and photos when it announced changes to the company’s terms of service this week. 

Jeremy Pinnix, a 40-year-old app developer in Spring Hill, Tenn., has been a regular user of the photo-sharing service Instagram since it was introduced in 2010, posting pictures of his family, local scenery and favorite moments.

But when he learned this week about changes to the company's terms of service that would apparently allow his photos to be used as advertisements, he didn't hesitate to delete his account.

"Many of the photos I take are of my wife and kids," he said. "The idea that those could be used in ads without my consent is disconcerting."

That has been a common sentiment on social networks this week as Instagram users react to the coming changes, part of a push by Facebook, which now owns Instagram, to make money from the service.

On Tuesday evening, the complaints prompted some action. Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, wrote a blog post saying the company would change the new terms of service to make clearer what would happen to users' pictures. "I'm writing this today to let you know we're listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion," he said.

When it announced the changes Monday, Facebook provided few details about how it would integrate ads and photos, other than to say that when the changes went into effect on Jan. 16, they would not affect any photographs uploaded to the service before then.

That did not prevent unhappy users from threatening to take their portfolios of photographs over to rival services. Many, including Pinnix, eyed a return to Flickr, the former king of photo-sharing services, which is owned by Yahoo.

Instagram fans balk at use of photos in ads 12/18/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 9:37pm]

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