Want Your Photo Featured in an Ad? Just Use Instagram!

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Imagine: you’re sitting on the T on a cold snowy day in Boston, idly daydreaming about warm weather, when you notice an ad above the seat across from you featuring a vacation to the Bahamas; boy does that ad look enticing, especially on a day like today. You continue to look longingly at the ad, and suddenly start to think that something about it looks eerily familiar. Upon closer inspection, you realize why — the photo in the ad is a Lo-Fi filtered photo of a palm tree you took on your iPhone just last year, while in Miami. Huh?

 
If you’re an Instagram user, something like this could actually happen to you, thanks to Instagram’s new privacy policy update. Effective January 16, 2013, the photo-sharing service’s new policy allows Instagram to use any of your photos “in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” Or as CNET puts it, “Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification.”
Needless to say, this update has sparked quite a bit of outrage amongst Instagram users, who are allegedly shuttering their accounts by the thousands. Unfortunately for Instagrammers, the only way to opt-out of Instagram’s new privacy policy is to close your account before January 16.
So, what does this privacy policy update mean for Instagram? Is it “Instagram’s suicide note,” as one user described it? Or did Instagram update their terms of service to “help protect you,” as they claimed on their company blog?
We’ll have to stay tuned to find out – but Instagram better stay on their toes. Angering users is never a good idea, and in the past companies have backed down in response to widespread protest. Instagram may end up needing to follow suit.
 
**UPDATE**
Instagram has abandoned wording in its new terms-of-service agreement that sparked outcry from users concerned it meant their photos could appear in advertisements. Click here for more information.

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