Celebrities are threatening to leave Instagram in their droves after new terms and conditions were announced on the site which appear to give it permission to use any uploaded images for commercial purposes.
Users took to Twitter to complain about the changes, which come into force on January, 16 with many saying they had immediately closed their Instagram accounts.
Reality stars Kim and Khloe Kardashian were among celebrity users who spoke out against the new rules. National Geographic magazine also said it was suspending new posts at the moment, announcing in an image posted to Instagram: “@NatGeo is suspending new posts to Instagram. We are very concerned with the direction of the proposed new terms of service and if they remain as presented we may close our account.”
Noah Kalina, best known as the official photographer at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding, has also been very outspoken on the issue. Clearly, the fact Facebook now owns Instagram has not swayed his opinion. He wrote: “Instagram is fun. I just started posting again and was enjoying it greatly. But this section of the Terms and Conditions must change. I make a living taking and making photographs. Sometimes advertising photography. I have also appeared in advertising as an actor. My name, face and photographs are not only valuable, but my livelihood. You cannot take those things from me for free. The solution is pretty simple. If you want to use me or my work all you have to do is change this clause and say you will ask first. We can take it from there. If not, I have to leave and a lot of friends are coming with me.”
It’s just the latest controversy Instagram has found itself caught up in. Twitter users spoke of their dismay after Instagram removed features allowing photographs to be properly displayed on the rival site.
Then it emerged that Systrom has apparently “verbally agreed” a $525m deal to sell Instagram to Twitter just weeks before announcing Facebook had bought the service.
But Instagram has now posted a new message following the furore surrounding the terms and conditions, saying there are no plans to take users photos and use them in advertising.
In the message, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom says he realises that lots of users are “confused and upset” about the changes so he is aiming to clarify the situation.
He said language used raised questions about whether users’ photos could be used as part of an advertisement, adding: “We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question.”
Systrom also sought to reassure users worried about losing their copyright. “Instagram users own their own content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos,” he insists. “Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.”