Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Instagram Walks Back Ad Language, but Leaves the Door Open

Instagram has taken another step to mollify users who balked at the photo-sharer’s recent terms of service changes. But it has left itself plenty of room to maneuver.

Co-founder Kevin Systrom says the company will change part of its new contract with users that deals with advertising, and will use the same language the company has always employed. Here’s an excerpt from his newest blog post.

“Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”

But to be clear: Instagram still plans on introducing advertising to the service. And that advertising could conceivably incorporate users’ photos. And to be clearer: Instagram’s original language already said that.

“[Y]ou hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”

To sum up: Instagram officials (and, presumably, their new bosses at Facebook) feel bad about the way users reacted to its legalese, and they want users to feel better.

But if you don’t want to see ads on the service, or want to be assured that your stuff won’t show up in an ad, you’re going to want to look somewhere else.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work