Just two days after a social media storm erupted over Instagram’s proposed new terms of service, the Facebook-owned company — as promised — has come up with revisions, in an effort to “communicate our intentions clearly.”
Rather than say the company’s plans themselves led to the controversy, co-founder Kevin Systrom has painted it all as a misunderstanding, where poor wording in its terms caused confusion among users — many of whom said publicly that they were deleting their accounts over the changes.
The first section that people were up in arms about referred to a “non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content” — leading some to believe Instagram planned to start a stock photo service, without compensation or notification of the photos’ creators.
Meanwhile, the company has also decided to roll back its advertising policies to the language it originally used in 2010, which says: “Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”
Said Systrom in his blog post announcing the change, “Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”
Given that many have already been using the service for years under those 2010 conditions, these changes would seem likely to satisfy critics, but the next section — which also drew the ire of users — has remained the same. It says: “You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”
Systrom didn’t offer any clarification of this section, which would seem to violate a key tenet of the Federal Trade Commission’s stance on Internet advertising — that ads should be labeled as ads.
The blog post was issued after business hours Eastern Time on Thursday, meaning that many who use the web at work may have missed the change. So it’s hard to tell how the new proposed terms, which are set to go into effect January 19, will be received.