If you have been actively Instagram’ing, you must have seen a notice posted in your News tab about the Privacy and Terms of Service changes on Instagram. This, according to Instagram, is in response to the need “to get things up to date for the millions of people now using Instagram.” The revisions, focused on information sharing with Facebook and spam prevention, will take effect on January 16, 2013.
While the rest are minor revisions with some remaining unchanged (such as your photo’s ownership and who gets to see them), of note are these new terms:
Terms of Service Rights
Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.
What this means is that Instagram will soon implement a Facebook-inspired suggested posts, ads if you may, so it can finally have its own revenue stream. Like it or not, expect to see commercial businesses and brands showing up in your feed next year. In a strange sense though, this section also makes it sound as if Instagram (and ultimately Facebook) will be earning from selling photos to advertisers, but without compensating Instagram’ers – that is really scary!
We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group (“Affiliates”). Affiliates may use this information to help provide, understand, and improve the Service (including by providing analytics) and Affiliates’ own services (including by providing you with better and more relevant experiences). But these Affiliates will honor the choices you make about who can see your photos.
Because Instagram is part of Facebook, it’s but expected that the two social networks will be sharing information, supposedly to help improve Instagram’s service and hope it stops there, without trying to emulate one another.
Users may run contests, special offers or other events or activities (“Events”) on the Service. If you do not want to participate in an Event, do not use the particular Metadata (i.e. hashtag or geotag) associated with that Event.
This hopefully prevents if not, puts a stop to hashtag (and geotag) spamming, especially for Instagram’ers and communities running photo challenges and prized contests, though it’s not yet clear how prevention measures will be implemented.