Are the New Instagram Terms of Service a Sign of Bad Things to Come?

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Facebook bought Instagram back in the spring, but not much has changed on the immensely popular photo-sharing service in the ensuing months. Perhaps knowing they had a cool thing on their hands — while being acutely aware of Facebook’s rapid decline in credibility among the “coolest” users, likely brought on by the influx of parents and grandparents signing up for Facebook accounts — Mark Zuckerberg and company made the decision to let Instagram be. This allowed the photo-obsessed hipsters who made the service a success in the first place continue to run wild.

It sounds like that’s about to change, though. Instagram has just announced a new privacy policy that will go into effect on January 16. The most important detail in the new terms of service? Any data shared to Instagram will now also be shared with Facebook.

This data includes location data, device identifiers (information about what kind of phone you’re using), cookies, log files and more.

Instagram insists this is a good thing, saying that it will provide users with “a better Instagram for you.” On the official Instagram blog, the company posted a message saying that the new integration will allow it to “fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone.”

Was anyone really having a problem with spam on Instagram? It’s perhaps the most spam-free of all major Web-based services in history.

Ultimately, this move is about making money — by using your Instagram data to target you with ads on Facebook. And Instagram too, eventually — Facebook’s Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions just said in an interview that Facebook is working on a plan to monetize Instagram.

Here’s the relevant clause in the new TOS:

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Sorry, hipsters. You knew this day was coming when the Facebook deal was announced. Your beloved Instagram wasn’t going to remain underground and awesome forever.

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2 Responses to Are the New Instagram Terms of Service a Sign of Bad Things to Come?

  1. Spam on Instagram is ridiculous. Over half my followers are bots. Frankly, the spam is more reason for me to move to a different site than this new privacy policy. The internet is owned by advertisers — as long as I still own my photos and can sell them without repercussion, I’m going to stay with Instagram and the awesome photography community it fosters.

  2. Matthew R. Miller says:

    Photore backs up your Instagram photos in high quality form to your hard drive. It takes minutes to leave the service: