In late 2012, Instagram revised the terms of service and decided to have the right to sell user photos.
The sad part about the whole process is the fact that the photo owners would get nothing in return. While the company later reversed the decision, it is important to be on the lookout just in case they decide to sell your photos anyway.
The Revised Policy
Facebook is the mother company of Instagram. This happened after it purchased the company back in April 2012. Now Facebook is looking for a way to monetize Instagram and selling of photos without the owner’s consent seems to be an idea they are considering. According to the proposed policy, Instagram would have had the rights to all photos on the social photo sharing site. It would sell these photos to organizations and ad companies. This would have turned Instagram into a world class photo stock agency. The Instagram users were not amused and they would have sought legal action if the company would have gone ahead with the plan. One possible solution if you want to protect your pictures in the future is to find another sharing platform and stop using Instagram all together.
How Can You Protect Your Photos?
If you are afraid that Instagram may revise the photo selling policy in the future and sell your photos. Or even if you are worried that some third party can access and use your photos without your express authorization, here are some tips to safe guard them.
Protect Your Account
This might not keep Instagram from accessing your photos, but it will keep the other users at bay. Only give access to those you follow. Identity theft is on the rise and you could just forestall a murky situation.
Deleting Your Account
You can choose to delete your account as soon as the photo selling idea is revisited or you feel vulnerable to identity theft. If Facebook does go ahead with their initial plan, which is unlikely, they will mostly give a date when they plan on launching. Delete your account before the set launch date.
Move to Other Photo Sharing Sites
You can choose to use another photo sharing platform like Google+ or Flickr. While they may not be as good as Instagram, at least you will be sure they will not sell your photos to third parties.
This is mostly effective with photos taken using devices other than your camera phone. This will deter the company from using your photos. It will also put off identity thieves or people who want to use your photos without your permission.
Campaign against the Policy
Since almost all Instagram users are against the selling of user photos, you can mobilize a group on Facebook to challenge the policy if it is revisited. Instagram user backlash is what stopped the company from going through with the plan initially. This could work again.
It is important to learn about the terms of service before you sign up on Instagram. If you already have an account, you can delete your account if you are afraid your photos may be sold.