Digital Life
Nokyoung Xayasane
December 18, 2012

Get Ready: Instagram’s New Terms of Service Are the Worst


Just when you thought you could take photos of your half-eaten lunch and your right eye without worry, here comes Instagram’s new terms of service.

Since being bought out by Facebook in the spring, Instagram hasn’t changed much — but now, things are about to go down. Starting on January 16, Instagram will now be so mainstream, hipsters everywhere will be holding a vigil.

You may become the star in an ad for hemorrhoid cream

Well, maybe not hemorrhoid cream in particular, but Instagram’s new terms of service allow Facebook or any other third-party company to use your photos in ads without telling you or paying you a penny.

The move can be summed up by a quotation from a MetaFilter discussion: “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

So expect your boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriend to be seen promoting the bar that just opened up, your sister’s friend to be advertising teeth whitening, or your cousin to be featured in an ad for the newest mineral water.

It’s getting all 1984 up in here

Big Brother, anyone? OK, maybe not that extreme, but it’s still eyebrow raising to know that Instagram will now share all your info to Facebook and any outside¬†affiliates¬†and advertisers. Whatever you’ve photographed — whether it be your favorite bands, the creme brulee you snapped at a restaurant or you standing proudly at the 18th hole — could be used to target you with certain ads.

YOLO – Chalk it up to youthful indiscretion

Let’s face it, we were all teenagers once and we did some pretty stupid things. The difference is now anyone can take a snapshot of our bikini-clad bodies and post it for all their Instagram followers to gawk at. Although Instagram says that users have to be at least 13 years of age to sign up for the photo-sharing service, the new terms state that any user, no matter how young, agrees that a parent or guardian is aware of these changes. Anyone’s image and photos are up for grabs — no matter their age.

Do you have to say goodbye to Instagram forever?

It’s been a love affair to remember, so do you have to say goodbye to Instagram if your feelings have changed?

These changes come into effect on January 16, so anything you post to Instagram after that date is up for grabs.


The only way to avoid these changes is to delete your Instagram account. But don’t fear, dear readers, for not all is lost.

If you’re not willing to squelch your desire to share photos of everyone and everything in your life, and don’t want to be the face of a high-end shoe company, then there are some options for you: Hipstamatic, Camera Awesome, Camera Fun, 100 Cameras in 1 and even Twitter.

Is this the end of an era? Buh-bye, Instagram. It’s not me, it’s you.