instagram-appJust in case you missed it, a single clause in Intragram’s latest Privacy Policy and Terms of Services has  caused an internet firestorm and likely cost the photo sharing sites 1000’s of users.  Here is the nasty bit:

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 in plain language is that Instagram has the right to serve advertisements to you next to your photos. It also means that Instagram can sell your photos to sponsors.

An extreme example – a baby-shampoo brand decides to use a father’s baby photo in an advertisement.  This what has users hopping made AND Instagram crawfishing like crazy.  (If you are not from the south crawfishing means to backtrack and try to madly wiggle yourself out the trouble you got yourself in… just like a crawfish wiggling backward through the water to escape trouble.)

Today, in true crawfishing fashion Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, wrote a block post in which he backpedaled madly saying, “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.”

He went on to say that the intent of the new terms was “to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram.”

“Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation,” he wrote. “This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

The new terms appeared to significantly broaden what Instagram can do with users’ content. Currently they say, “Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content.”

I am not sure what all this cover your butt talk really means for users.  We have seen Facebook (who own Instagram) say one thing, crawfish and then quietly reinstate the same (or nearly the same) privacy killing, user unfriendly clauses that have been carefully rewritten.

I don’t know if you should close your Instagram account.  However, if you sell your photos I would download them now and seriously consider closing your account.  If you do want to download your content and kill your Instagram account I found this easy to follow guide over at Wired.