Instagram, purchased by Facebook back in April, have made their first update to their Terms of Service since the acquisition. As expected, these provide Facebook with more access to Instagram’s (and thereby your) data.
To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, 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.
This means that basically Facebook can now use your Instagram photos, location tags, username and any other associated data in ad campaigns paid for by Facebook’s advertising partners or other 3rd parties. Your data may now become an ad, and certainly you won’t know about this, be asked permission, or receive any financial compensation.
We may share ‘User Content’ and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of…
Similar to the previous clause, this basically means all your Instagram data is shared with Facebook’s ad partners to allow for increased targeting of ads.
Then my favourite:
You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content or commercial communications as such
This is all to be expected. Facebook is an advertising company that uses a social network to increase the value of its product (i.e. you and your data). I think it does somewhat remove some of the inherited joy of using Instagram though, knowing that its purpose for being is no longer to provide a great service, but to monetise your activity.
I can’t see myself using the service for much longer, which is easy for me as I wasn’t a particularly frequent user in the first place. Others will likely not know or care about these changes and will no doubt continue to enjoy using it.
There goes another independent service to one of the ‘big four’ (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon). Up next, Foursquare…
P.S. If you want to delete your Instagram account (I’m seriously considering this), you can do so here. If you’re looking for an alternative, you could do a lot worse than the just-updated Flickr by Yahoo. Still a free service so there’s probably still an advertising undercurrent, but Yahoo are currently in such a state of recovery that they are going to do everything in their power to look after their users – they can’t afford to do anything else.