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Instagram Outrage Over Photo Ownership

(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (KDKA/AP) – Instagram, the popular photo-sharing service that Facebook bought this year, is the target of a storm of outrage on Twitter and other sites after a change in its user agreement hinted that it might use shared photos in ads.

It’s not clear that anything substantive has changed in Instagram’s new terms of service, which were posted Monday and go into effect Jan. 16. As is the case before, the service reserves the right to use shared photos in any matter it likes, though the photographers keep “ownership” of the photos.

The updated terms of service say users agree that their photos could be used “in connection with paid or sponsored content.” The current terms say the service can place ads “on, about or in conjunction with your Content.”

Late Tuesday afternoon, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom released a statement about the controversy.

“We’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.” Systrom wrote.
“It is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

The fast-growing site is a popular way to share photos from cellphones. Facebook Inc. bought Instagram in September. The cash-and-stock deal was worth $1 billion when it was announced in April, though that fell to about $740 million by the time it was completed because of Facebook’s falling stock price.

Twitter users were vowing to cancel their Instagram accounts in response to the policy change, complaining that the new terms would essentially let the service sell people’s photos for ads.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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