Instagram can sell my photos? No thank you.

I’m sure all you tech and social media savvy folks have already heard by now. Starting January 16th, Instagram (which is now owned by Facebook) can sell the photos that its users upload to any business that pays them, without its users knowing or being compensated for it. (CNN)(Instagram Terms of Use – Check out Section 2 of the Rights)

All lot of people are making a big deal of it. Others could care less.

Obviously, a huge factor of it has to do with privacy issues. How would you feel if a picture of you and your friends, or perhaps your children were being used without your permission? But it doesn’t stop at just pictures. They can use usernames, likes, people you follow, whatever. In the age of information technology, it is getting easier and easier for companies to obtain information about you without you even realizing it. Think about it! If you’ve ever made a purchase on Amazon, you’d know that they cater other product’s you’d like based on previous purchases. And if you’ve ever searched anything, you’d realize that sometimes exactly what you were searching for appears as ads when you visit a website, regardless of the site’s content. For example, if I was looking for a new pair of boots, all of the sudden every ad I’d see on the side of Youtube would be for Famous Footwear. All of that information along with any other demographic information is stored in databases and is used by company management to make business decisions. By using the Internet, you are basically leaving a footprint for other organizations to take advantage of in order to gain profit. This case is no different.

My first yarn bomb, taken the morning after the night/pre-dawn after I tagged this tree.


There is also an issue of intellectual property, which is what I’m more worried about. According to the new Terms of Use, the original posters still own the photos that they upload and share, but they have no control over which ones are being sold to paying companies and get nothing in return. Sure, Instagram filters don’t make for the most original and creative photos, but who is to say the content of the photos aren’t original works? For me, I sometimes use Instagram to promote this blog and my Etsy/Storenvy and I know many other bloggers and small business owners do the same. I wouldn’t want Instagram selling my photos to other businesses without giving me a dime when I can’t even gain enough traffic to my blog and shop to sell the things I promote.

Pre-sewing version of my first bowtie.


I guess you get what you pay for, and in terms of Instagram, it’s a free service. But just because it’s free doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a price for consumers. Without paying users, Instagram needs a way to make money. I understand. I’m a business student. But this is probably not the best way to do it.

I’m still trying to decide on whether I want to delete my Instagram account or not. On one hand, I’m a little addicted to it and it’s still a great way to connect with friends and a free way to gain exposure. On the other, I find that the photos I post are my own original creations and don’t want people to be able to use them without my permission. Maybe I’ll start using a watermark on every photo I post on the Internet.

What are your opinions on this new policy change? Will you continue to use the photo sharing app as usual or will you be deleting your account altogether?


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