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Series of rumours overnight created chaos amongst users and the crew itself. Instagram - which has gone from plucky photo-sharing startup to cog in the giant Internet machine that is Facebook - just had one of the roughest day of its existence. Late Monday, the app announced an update to its terms of service that has sent users into a tizzy.
It had gotten so bad that by the end of the business day on Tuesday, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom had to step in and clarify.
In a post, he debunked four myths that had developed in a single 24-hour span about Terms of Service, to clear up confusion about advertising plans.
1) Will my photos be sold to anyone else?
No. This was one of the scariest rumors spread on Twitter on Tuesday. Systrom writes that the terms of service were "interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos."
2) Will my photos be part of an advertisement?
No. "We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we're going to remove the language that raised the question," Systrom writes. According to current plans laid out in the blog post, the only picture of yours that may be associated with an ad is your profile pic, similar to how "Sponsored Stories" work on Facebook. Thus, you may become an unwittingly spokesperson for a product from a brand that you follow, but your photos won't be used to shill for that brand.
3) Do I still own my photos?
An unequivocal yes. "Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos," Systrom writes. Ownership being revoked was a strange rumor to believe to begin with, since even the jargon-y original document states "Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post."
4) Can everyone see my photos even if my profile is private?
Those posting pornographic "selfies" to Instagram can rest easy. "Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos," he writes. Simply put, private photos are staying private.
Official FE News Editor