Instagram Gives Itself a Huge Christmas Present: The Right to Use Your Photos
The legalese goes on. "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." (You can read the full Terms of Service here.)
If you read that carefully you'll understand that Instagram doesn't "own" your content, but it can license your photos to other companies. If it wanted, it says in effect, it could sell your photos to advertisers or other firms.
How nice. And that's not the end of it, as Instagram now says that its users 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."
So, basically, Instagram can decide to make a profit while it ruins your life, if you happen to have uploaded anything questionable to the site. And what partying person under a certain age who has always lived with a phone capable of taking and uploading photos at any time hasn't done that?
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