Why celebrities could stop using Instagram.

instagram (1)Instagram has been caught up in a stream of online celebrity protests as stars threaten to leave the service over changes to its photo ownership rules.

Celebrities, and their fans, have loved photo-sharing service Instagram since it launched in 2010, posting pictures of everything from behind-the-scenes shots to photos of what they’re having for tea. It has helped give fans unprecedented access to stars’ daily lives.

But now the site, which was bought by social media giant Facebook earlier this year, is changing its privacy policy – and the new rules, which come into force on January 16, mean it will be able to sell on to advertisers any photo uploaded by its users.

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Instagram’s new policy states: “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 for promotions, without any compensation to you.”

And even images that have been uploaded by children are not immune to the new rules as they state: “If you are under the age of 18, or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username and/or photos (along with any associated metadata) on your behalf.”

The proposed changes have angered users, including lots celebrities, who say they are going to close their account.

Reality star Kim Kardashian tweeted: “I really loved Instagram :-( I need to review this new policy. I don’t think its fair.”

And sister Khloe agreed, saying: “Wow… I just read over Instagram’s new policy … so say, looks like I might be deleting my Instagram after Jan 16. I hope something changes.”

Cheryl Burke, who is one of the professional dancers on Dancing With The Stars tweeted: “’Can’t believe Instagrams new policy! They r allowed 2 use ALL of ur images in advertising. Will be erasing my account shortly.”

In its blog, Instagram says the changes are necessary to allow Instagram and Facebook to operate together after the buyout and to “combat spam more effectively.”

Douwe KorffIt writes: “Nothing has changes about your photos’ ownership or who can see them. Our updated privacy policy helps Instagram function more easily as part of Facebook by being able to share info between the two groups. This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used.”

But Professor Douwe Korff, who is a privacy and data protection expert at London Metropolitan University, described the new terms and conditions as “outrageous,” adding that they would not stand up to challenges in “many European jurisdictions”.

The changes don’t apply to photos anyone has uploaded prior to January 16 but users wanting to stay signed up to Instagram after this date only have two choices at the moment – accept the changes or leave.