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Facebook's Instagram rules sparks anger

Jeremy Pinnix, an app developer in Spring Hill, Tennessee, has been a regular user of the photo-sharing service Instagram since it was introduced in 2010, posting pictures of his family, local scenery and favorite moments.

social media Updated: Dec 19, 2012 23:40 IST

Jeremy Pinnix, an app developer in Spring Hill, Tennessee, has been a regular user of the photo-sharing service Instagram since it was introduced in 2010, posting pictures of his family, local scenery and favorite moments.

But when Pinnix, 40, learned this week about changes to the company's terms of service that would apparently allow his photos to be used as advertisements, he did not hesitate. He deleted his account and has not looked back.

"Many of the photos I take are of my wife and kids," he said. "The idea that those could be used in ads without my consent is disconcerting."

Concerns like those have been mounting on social networks this week as Instagram users reacted to the coming changes, part of a push by Facebook, which bought Instagram this year, to make money from the service.

On Tuesday evening, the complaints, which included angry Twitter posts and images on Instagram protesting the changes, prompted action. Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, wrote a blog post saying the company would change the new terms of service to make clearer what would happen to users' pictures.

"We've heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean," he wrote. "I'm writing this today to let you know we're listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes and eliminate the confusion."

When Facebook announced the changes on Monday, it provided few details about how it would integrate advertisements and photos, other than to say that when the changes took effect on January 16 they would not affect any photographs uploaded to the service before then.

That did not prevent unhappy users from threatening to take their photographs to rival services, such as EyeEm, social photo-sharing application. Many considered returning to Flickr, the former king of photo-sharing services, which is owned by Yahoo.