User outrage at Instagram's new terms

Instagram, the hugely popular photo-sharing website, may be about to get a little less popular very quickly. In its rush to monetise its site, Instagram may have disenchanted many of its users with the latest terms of use agreement.

Although users do not always read the small print, Instagram’s new terms go beyond the usual and sensible provisos regarding minimum age limits and the outlawing of pornographic images. Essentially, Facebook subsidiary Instagram are asking users to accept that their images and usernames can be used commercially without any recompense to the user.

The offending paragraph reads: "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."

There isn’t even a box that users can tick to opt out of this "agreement". You either accept the terms or you don’t use Instagram. The likely reaction from users who take the time to absorb the implications of the new agreement will be the latter.

One New York photographer, Clayton Cubitt, seemed to encapsulate the opinions of many users when he called the terms "Instagram’s suicide note". That reaction was quickly echoed by hundreds of others.

Instagram seem to be hoping that most of its users will not notice the changes. "These kinds of terms are pretty common these days, which is unfortunate, because some of them border on the ridiculous," internet legal expert Woodrow Hartzog told Gawker. "It's no secret that users rarely read and understand these terms, so companies have little incentive to draft user-friendly agreements."

Word will spread though, and more users will begin to realise that, however convenient and user-friendly the Instagram site may be, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

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