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If You’re a Parent Who Uses Instagram, You May Want to Read About Their New Terms of Service for 2013

If You’re a Parent Who Uses Instagram, You May Want to Read About Their New Terms of Service for 2013

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A few hours after this was published, Instagram released a statement – you can read that here:

I use Instagram a lot.  I use it to mostly capture photos of my daughter Willow and I use it to share pictures to Facebook and Twitter.  I like the service because it adds beautiful filters to photographs and it makes sharing to multiple platforms easy.  I’ve connected with about 1,200 people on Instagram and they follow my photos and vice versa.  It’s nice because it really brings a level of intimacy to online friendships – you get to see people’s everyday lives and share in their life experience.  However, I may be cancelling my Instagram account before January 16, 2013 and here’s why you might want to as well.

About Instagram’s Terms of Service Changes

On January 16, 2013, Instagram will be implementing a new and a new .  As of January 16, 2013, they will be able to sell your photos to whomever they want (advertisers) without your notice, consent or without you being financially compensated for it.  You also can not choose who they sell your photographs to, so you have no say if your child ends up in an ad for Nestle or Baby Gap.  Here are those terms, straight from their 2013 Terms of Service agreement:

The part that worries me the most in this ToS update is this: “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.”  As I mentioned before, Instagram will be able to sell your photos or photos of your children to ANYONE they see fit.  It doesn’t matter what your personal beliefs are or your preferences are – they will sell your photos and there is nothing you can do about it.

What I Plan on Doing About It

If Instagram does not issue a revision to the Terms of Service prior to January 16, 2013, I will be deleting my account.  It may not protect my past images that are stored on their servers but it will certainly ensure that they can not use my photos moving forward.  In preparation for this potential account closure, I’m saving my photos from Instagram as many of the photos were put on Instagram and Instagram alone.  

If Instagram offers a revision to their ToS prior to January 16, 2013, I’ll keep my account open and active and continue to use it to share photos.

How to Download Your Photos from Instagram

I am using a really simple and easy tool to download my Instagram photos.  It’s called and looks like this, after you connect it to your Instagram account:

Once you see this grid, you simply click the photo you want to save and it automatically starts saving them to your computer.

Here you can see it downloading in my browser.

And here are the saved images in my downloads folder.

You do need to go through and rename the files to something more memorable / descriptive but the fact that I can one-click download my pictures will save me a ton of time and loads of additional clicks if I try to save them elsewhere.  There is also a service called but it seems to be experiencing very heavy traffic and the servers are not working often.

Don’t Have Time to Sit & Click Your Photos?

I’ve also sampled a service called CopyGram where you can download all of your photos and they e-mail you with the backup of your pictures.  To use this service, simply go to their website, connect to Instagram and click “Back Up Photos” in the menu at the top.  Enter your e-mail address and the number of photos you wish to download and click Back Up Now.  They’ll then e-mail you with a back up file of your pictures.  Depending on how many photos you have, it could take some time so be patient.

To Wrap It Up

It’s really a personal decision whether you stay on Instagram or not but I felt the need to write this post since not everyone is up-to-date with new Terms of Service changes.  I didn’t want January 16, 2013 to go by without you being aware only to find a photo you’ve posted sold without your consent – especially if it was a photo of your children.

I think someone has a real opportunity here to walk in with a paid service that is up front about it – you’ll pay a nominal fee but we promise to NEVER sell/rent/trade/share your photographs, ever.  I know that I’d pay for a service that honoured my privacy and the privacy of my family.

Are you going to stay with Instagram?  Leave Instagram?  Weigh in below!

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Comments (3)

  1. Crystal Tuesday - 18 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    Hmmmm! I had heard about this on Twitter, but didn't know the full extent. This is crazy talk! I personally don't use Instagram that often, so I wouldn't think twice about deleting my account, but I can see how for people (such as yourself) who use it quite often, this could be a real pain to a) have to save all the pictures and b) be afraid where your pictures might end up. This is just sooo wrong! Thanks for sharing with us all Erin and putting it into a language that I think everyone can understand and move forth with!
  2. DaniGirl Tuesday - 18 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    I blogged about this today, too. I am still shaking my head - what the heck was Instagram/Facebook thinking?! You mention photos of kids being at risk, though, and I wanted to mention that in particular - I shoot stock photography and there's no way they could legally sell an image of a recognizable person without a model release, so any photos of actual people are probably not on the table for third-party sale. However, the blatant rights grab is still ridiculous and I'm regretfully abandoning my IG account, too. More here: Beware, though - it's not just IG that assumes right to your photos - many photo-sharing sites claim a lesser right to the content, including TwitPic and Hipstamatic.
  3. Nicole Burris Tuesday - 18 / 12 / 2012 Reply
    Thanks so much for the heads up. I read the stuff but some how missed that. I did tweet about it, FB it, AND, pin it to get the word out and maybe put pressure on them to change it!.

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