Instagram confirmed today that it will begin inserting ads into users' timelines in the coming months. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that ads would eventually be coming to the photo-centric social network. The company says it will start by "focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community." The ads will initially only be seen by users in the United States.
Instagram's approach to advertising will certainly cause ire among some of its users, but it shouldn't come as a surprise — the service's parent company, Facebook, has been expanding its use of ads quite a bit over the past few years. As with Facebook, if users do not like an ad or find it offensive, they have the option to hide it from their feed and report it to Instagram.
Users will have the option to hide and report ads they don't like to Instagram
Countless companies have already been using Instagram as a promotional tool for years, but this new move will put inserted ads into your timeline even if you don't follow a particular brand or company. Companies that expand their advertising efforts often run the risk of alienating their most loyal users, but the realities of running a business frequently give them little choice in the matter. After all, nobody pays a dime to use Instagram, so the company has to earn revenue if it is to stay operational.
Instagram does make a point in noting that despite this new advertising expansion, users still own the rights to their photos and videos that they upload, and today's announcement doesn't change that. As it stands now, it doesn't seem like Instagram will be able to sell the rights to images and videos you upload without another change to its terms of service.