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PSA: Instagram's new (and old) terms of service go into effect today

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Instagram terms of service stock 1020
Instagram terms of service stock 1020

Instagram's controversy-ridden new terms of service (TOS) and privacy policy go into effect today, but without the language that set off a frenzy of hysteria among users and the media last month. Originally, Instagram planned to include a new advertising section that would have actually benefited users by outlining how the company could display user photos, but widely-reported misconceptions led many to heap criticism on the photo sharing platform. In response, Instagram ultimately chose to retract those changes, with founder Kevin Systrom vowing "Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did." Yet the company has gained more leeway by reinstating the previous text: specific details as to when and how Instagram may use your photos in ads have been replaced with the older, more vague verbiage.

Misconceptions and false panic have left users in a bad spot

As for what else the new terms allow, Instagram is now free to share user data with parent company Facebook. That's also likely to raise some eyebrows over potential privacy concerns, though Instagram insists the improved exchange between the two will help it "fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone." It's also a necessary step for Instagram's content to eventually find its way to Facebook's Graph Search. The billions of geotagged photos uploaded by Instagram's community are destined to be a treasure trove for Facebook's major new feature.

If you're still unhappy, uninstall the app

What can you do if you're still unhappy with the new terms of service and privacy policy? Stop uploading photos and delete your account. Essentially, opting out is the only choice you have if you're determined to make a stand against Instagram: there's no middle ground here. The numbers suggest not many people are jumping ship over these changes, but if you're thinking of saying goodbye, now would make a great time to research alternatives.