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Facebook’s Instagram monetization plan: License users’ photos without paying for them

Updated Dec 18th, 2012 5:36PM EST
Instagram Photo Licensing
Image: Instagram

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Remember when we worried that Facebook (FB) would wreck the Instagram experience by adding lots of advertisements next to user photos? Well it turns out that the company’s plans to monetize the popular photo-sharing app are actually much worse. As CNET reports, Instagram has published new terms of service that give Facebook “the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency.”

To make matters worse, users cannot opt out of this new feature unless they delete their accounts before January 16th. The good news in all this is that Instagram isn’t the only photo-sharing app out there: As The Verge notes, backlash against Instagram could benefit Flickr, which has just been redesigned with new photo filters to compete with Instagram.

UPDATE: Instagram has issued a statement in response to user backlash following its policy changes. The full statement can be read here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.