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Don’t Be Evil, Don’t Be Instagram


I’m not on Facebook, I’m not on Instagram. Having heard Zuckerberg speak it’s clear to me that he is not concerned with online privacy issues. So, it comes as no surprise that Facebook owned Instagram is changing its policies effective January 16, 2013.

From that date forward Instagram will be sharing information about its users within Facebook and with its outside affiliates. It will have the right to use any photos created with the app for advertising and to sell them to others. Additionally, underage users are not exempt and advertising within Instagram does not have to be labelled as such.

The only way to opt out is to delete your account.

If you want an alternative for easily mojo’d photos on the iPhone, I recommend Hipstamatic. It does not have to be tied into a social network and it can create higher resolution images, ones which can be printed. I have even had some published by clients.

Fordham vs. Colgate, Fordham Gym, NY, NY, Nov. 29, 2011.
Fordham vs. Colgate, Fordham Gym, NY, NY, Nov. 29, 2011. Hipstamatic photo.

Update – According to this is more of a restatement of terms for Instagram than a new policy as they always did claim full rights to users’ images.

What shocks me, as a professional photographer, is when I see clients using these services. In some cases, relying on them as the engine serving photos for their web sites. Many academic clients are trending toward placing thousands of images on Flickr within minutes or hours of an event or photo shoot. I wonder what use that serves… Is an unedited gallery of 500 images that helpful to their goal or their cause? Does the general public need all of those images to be high res? And how long until a misuse of a photo occurs because a user swiped a high res copy and used it inappropriately or because the terms of service of the hosting company allowed for authorized commercial use?


  1. Hi Jon,

    It’s well worth flagging news like this up – so thanks .

    Flickr not that great an option for the same reason and when people sign up for Netflix they are agreeing to share info via Facebook. It’s astonishing that these companies have the right to have this much control over private information, photos and videos. I’m quite concerned at how YouTube has become far less user controlled. And I’m really not a great Facebook user because I like to keep business and personal separate as much as possible.

    I wonder what we agree to when we download FCPX! Few people take the time to really read software agreements. But strangely, whilst I know Apple mine lots of information from us, I believe they generally keep it to themselves.

  2. Mark –

    I agree on Flickr and had an addendum in the works about just that (since added above.)

    I also agree on Apple vs Facebook/Instagram in regards to privacy issues. The few videos I’ve seen of Zuckerberg at things like the All Things D conference never gave me the sense that he cared about privacy.

    Jobs at least did convey that, in both words and action. Time will tell if Apple without him still abides by it.

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