Instagram's new policy says it can sell your photos without payment or notification. Photo: AFP
Instagram is facing a backlash as users debate whether to dump the smartphone photo-sharing service due to a rule change giving it a royalty-free, worldwide license to posted images.
"You hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post on or through the service," the new terms of service state.
Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom. Photo: Reuters
"You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."
Instagram contended that it is not claiming ownership of people's pictures, just that it can do what it wishes with images.
Twitter and Instagram forums were ablaze with debate regarding whether to delete accounts before the new rules kick in.
"Bye-bye Instagram," tweeted Scott Ninness. "Who in their right mind will use a service that allows your images (to) be sold with no financial remuneration to you?"
"Everybody should continue using Instagram but just take blurry photos of sandwiches," suggested a Twitter user by the screen-name Michele Catalano.
Pink, Mia Farrow and Taraji P Henson are among the stars who are turning their backs on the site. In a post on Twitter on Tuesday morning, Pink writes, "I WILL BE QUITTING INSTAGRAM TODAY. WHAT A BUMMER. YOU SHOULD ALL READ THEIR NEW RULES."
Actress Henson also sent out a warning to her followers, alongside a link to an article detailing the updated conditions.
"If this is true I will have to delete my acct (account). you have until January 16th to do so," she tweeted while Farrow admits she has no problem dumping the photo-enhancement technology, writing, "A small pleasure: deleting my Instagram app."
They weren't the only celebrities taking action over the new rules - former House star Kal Penn tweets, "Sorry I gotta delete you, Instagram. I liked your filters", and rapper Xzibit revealed he was disappointed by the altered privacy conditions: "Say it aint so instagram,debo (steal) everyones pics and then turn around and sell them to 3rd parties with no shared revenue (sic)? deleting my instagram".
However, Blink-182 rocker Mark Hoppus is undecided about continuing with the app, posing the question: "what are we going to do about our instagram accounts?"
Some people "tweeted" in defense of Instagram, arguing that it is a "mega-business" that needs to make money.
Another Twitter user predicted that a handful of Instagram users will abandon the service and "everyone else will stick around."
"Nothing has changed about your photos' ownership or who can see them," Instagram said in a blog post when the policy changes were disclosed on Monday.
The move that would let advertisers work with people's Instagram pictures comes as the service tries to channel people to its website to view posted images.
Instagram this month made it impossible for internet users to view its images in messages at fired off at Twitter.
Instagram, which has some 100 million users, is seeking to route photo viewers to its own website, where it has the potential to make money from ads or other mechanisms, instead of letting Twitter get the benefits.
Previously, Instagram pictures shared in messages tweeted from smartphones could be viewed unaltered at Twitter.
Twitter responded by adding Instagram-style photo sharing features of its own.
Yahoo! joined the fray last week by making it more enticing for iPhone users to use its Flickr photo service.
Instagram rose to stardom with the help of Twitter, but has distanced itself from the messaging service since Facebook completed its acquisition of Instagram in September.
The original price was pegged at $US1 billion but the final value was less because of a decline in the social network's share price.