May 23, 2022

Social Media: Instagram Says it Now Has the Right to Sell Your Photos, No Opt-Out Available

UPDATE: Instagram Hears Users and Reverts to Old Terms of Service (via Instagram Blog)
Good news? Will the outcry continue? The Huffington Post points out other issues with the photo sharing service TOS?

UPDATE 5:20 p.m. An Instagram Co-Founder Responds to Criticism Over New Policy
According to a blog post nothing is changing with Instagram’s policies over ownership, privacy and and usage. It’s all a misunderstanding due to a confusing and poorly written document. 

Our intention in updating the 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. 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.

Stay tuned.

This is going to be an interesting one to watch. Will Instagram (now part of Facebook) change these new rules given what appears to be Yahoo’s renewed interest in Flickr (not to me mention many other services) and a growing amount (rightly so) of outcry by Instagram users.

Will the U.S. or other governments get involved?

It will also be interesting to see if “the masses” (not tech types) leave Instagram or even learn of the changes before they go live. Do most people even care?


Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.

The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.


Facebook did not respond to repeated queries from CNET this afternoon. We’ll update the article if we receive a response.

Another policy pitfall: If Instagram users continue to upload photos after January 16, 2013, and subsequently delete their account after the deadline, they may have granted Facebook an irrevocable right to sell those images in perpetuity. There’s no obvious language that says deleting an account terminates Facebook’s rights, EFF’s Opsahl said.

Much More in the Complete Article

See Also: Privacy and Terms of Service Changes on Instagram (via Instagram Blog)

See Also: Why the Web Is Freaking Out Over Instagram’s New Terms of Service (via WSJ)

See Also: How to Quit Instagram and Take Your Photos With You (via PC Mag)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.