Instagram Can Now Sell Your Pics to Advertisers Without Your Permission

By December 19, 2012

Unless you’ve been off the grid or not checked your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts the last couple of days, you’ve heard of the latest internet bitchfest known as “Instagram can sell my pics without asking?!” that has led some – including celebs like Private Practice star Kate Walsh to debate “Should I stay or should I go?”

Here’s the deal – after the last Instagram app updates to iPhone and Android smartphones, new changes to the Terms of Service (aka ToS) appeared featuring some new rules that not everyone is happy about.

The paragraphs that have everyone threatening to take their ball and going home (metaphorically speaking) reads as follows:

“Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that 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.

If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.”

In other words, this says that as of January 16, 2013, Instagram can sell your pics they like (including family pics) and you won’t see a dime or photo credit.

Sound a lot like Facebook’s policy? Well, seeing as Facebook bought Instagram and the 5 BILLION PHOTOS (mine included) back in September; it should.

Don’t like the idea of that? Here’s a couple options for you to consider, should you want to delete your account.

There’s a couple of free Instagram downloading programs, Softonic and Instaport, that you can use to transfer your Instagram pics to your PC and can also migrate your pics to Flickr. If you don’t wanna keep those memories of your cats sticking their paws in your face (or in the case of a couple of my professional shutterbug friends, some REALLY dope pics) can just delete your account.


The uproar’s been huge enough that Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom addressed these issues in a post on the official blog yesterday which included ownership rights and privacy settings.

Ownership Rights – Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.

I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.

Privacy Settings – Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you. We hope that this simple control makes it easy for everyone to decide what level of privacy makes sense.”

I’m not quite sure what I’m gonna do yet because even imagining what I’m gonna do with the 1,625 (and counting) pics I’ve uploaded to Instagram quite yet. Until I figure it out, I’m gonna be REAL careful not to post any pics of me with zits, cuts, cold sores or looking a hot mess in general because I don’t wanna end up on the side of a bus or on a giant billboard…unless it’s an ad for my new hit show or movie and it says “starring Crix Lee”.

It’s up to you what you wanna do but don’t panic just yet, you’ve got till January 16th to figure it out. Until then, I’ma enjoy the smartass quips I’m seeing on the interwebs.

IF Instagram sold my images, my hope is they’d end up in something fun like this.


Say “cheese”!

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Cricket Lee
Star Wars fangirl. Named Best Kisser by Time Magazine. CEO/Host: Girl Gamer; host of Gecken: GeekNation; writer: Dread Central. You'll have a crush on me soon. Vote Quimby. Twitter: @crixlee