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Instagram Apologizes To Users For Policy Mix Up, Promises Not To Sell Photos

By O'Jay Burgess on Dec 19, 2012 02:34 PM EST

Popular social media website Instagram apologized to users Wednesday and say it will "remove," language from its legal terms that would allow the site to sell users' photos or use them in advertisements.

CNET.com reports, that in a blog post, Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said its "our mistake that this language is confusing" and that the company is "working on updated language."

"Since making these changes, we've heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean," he wrote.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook obtaining over 100 million users from the photo-sharing website. The terms of use agreement saw many of the users turned off from the website and competitors grabbed the opportunity to tell potential users how safe their sites are.

Instagram's policy seem to be looser than any other major photo-sharing site, Snapseed, who are now own by Google and are seen as a rival site say their site doesn't allow for such loose policies.

A Google spokesman told CNET Wednesday that Google+ and its other services protect their users' rights:

"As our terms of service make clear, 'what belongs to you stays yours.' You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Some of our services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In addition, on Google+ you can export your photos and other data whenever you'd like."

According to CNET, in Systrom's blog post he emphasized that Instagram does not want to own users' photos, and that when users set their photos to private, they won't be made public under these new terms. He wrote that advertising is one of the many ways the company can sustain itself saying:

"We envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let's say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce -- like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo -- might show up if you are following this business."

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