In today’s edition of Shocking Social Media News, Instagram decides it’s time to cash in on its users.

(This is my surprised look.)

After all, Instagram was acquired by Facebook two months ago, so it doesn’t necessarily surprise anyone to learn it has availed itself of the right to use your photos (and likeness) in ads (which it doesn’t yet offer) without permission or compensation.


(From the always interesting Good Morning Silicon Valley email)

Under the new terms of service, users may technically still own the photos, but essentially give away all ownership rights: “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 user name, 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,” it reads. The changes take effect Jan. 16.

So in theory, if you’re on vacation and take an Instagram photo of your girlfriend by the swanky hotel pool, that photo could be used by the hotel in an ad on Instagram or Facebook, and her likeness could be used as well.

This drives a recurring theme here at the Underground: professional content creators had better ask themselves who they’re really enriching by contributing to social media sites, especially given the recent string of revelations about the difficulties brands face making Facebook and other social media pull their own weight.

UPDATE: Instagram/Facebook back down.

Amusingly, Instagram’s language suggests the whole thing was just a misunderstanding — an accident of ambiguous language — but the original language seems pretty unambiguous.

Trustworthy? A Facebook company? C’mon…