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Instagram's change in terms of agreement cause user unrest

Many users of the popular photo-sharing website Instagram were outraged this month when the service announced that it was going to be changing some of the language in their terms of service.

Generally this wouldn't have been a big deal had the new wording not suggested to users that not only would their uploaded pictures be subject to sale to advertisers but that the users would not be compensated for the photographs used.

Instagram nearly lost hundreds of users when the popular Twitter feed associated with the hacker collective Anonymous encouraged its followers to boycott Instagram and delete their accounts. And with more than 780,000 Twitter followers, a majority of them probably with Instagram accounts, Instagram representatives quickly attempted to clear up any confusion there may have been regarding the language change.

According to Instagrams co-founder Kevin Systrom, "The language we proposed ... raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement ... We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we're going to remove the language that raised the question."

People in Texas and across the nation have already expressed their displeasure with the idea of having their images exploited for profit without the guarantee that they will be compensated. Even celebrity notables like Wil Wheaton have questioned whether images of celebrities wearing or using recognizable products can be exploited by advertising companies. If a complete stranger takes a picture, who then has the rights to the image? Who profits: the person who took the photo, the celebrity or is it the company who owns the product?

It's questions like this that can lead to business disputes and litigation. Companies are advised to make their terms of agreement as clear as possible because one person's interpretation may be completely different to someone else.

Source: CNN, " Instagram users revolt over privacy changes," Doug Gross, Dec. 18, 2012

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