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WAIT! Don't Delete Your Instagram Account Just Yet...

InstagramWAIT! Don't just delete your Instagram account!

Across a wide range of social networks today, I'm seeing people deleting their Instagram accounts after Facebook changed the Instagram terms of service in a way which allows Facebook/Instagram to potentially use your photos in advertising. At issue in particular are two clauses under "Rights" in the new terms of service (my emphasis added):

2. Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. 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 or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (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.

3. You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

The first of which is the serious issue, while the second is more just annoying.

UPDATE 19 Dec 2012 - Instagram has responded with a post about the new terms of service. I think it's an open question whether that will help or whether people will continue to take a wait-and-see approach as Neville Hobson is doing (as am I).

I completely understand why people are deleting their Instagram accounts, particularly when directions about how to leave Instagram are published on Wired and being widely circulated - and also when other services like Flickr roll out new mobile apps that rock!

But think about what you are losing:

  • ALL THE LINKS WILL STOP WORKING that are to your Instagram photos. All those links floating around out there in Twitter, Facebook and other sites will no longer work. Presumably they'll all now be 404s.

  • YOU WILL LOSE YOUR ACCOUNT NAME - and someone else may be able to get that name. Maybe your name is unique enough that someone else won't come along and want your account name... but I know mine is NOT unique, and so if I were to give it up, some other Dan York could come along and take it.

  • INSTAGRAM MAY CHANGE ITS TERMS as it deals with all the backlash. You may find yourself wanting to get back in... and someone else may have claimed your username.

  • INSTAGRAM IS PART OF FACEBOOK... and love it or hate it, Facebook is a big player in this space. We don't know how they will (or will not) evolve Instagram. It may be worthwhile to have an account there at some later time.

Now it may be that there is a very simple way to keep your Instagram account yet not fall under the new Terms of Service:

Do not USE Instagram starting on January 16th!

I am NOT a lawyer, but I've seen multiple notes that this Terms of Service only applies to photos you post as of January 16, 2013. I don't know if that is true... but if it is, this may be a simple way to keep your account and links intact. Keep the account, but just stop using it and switch to some other service instead.

Of course, if it is NOT true, then I might be joining you all in deleting accounts... ;-)

Seriously, though, please think carefully about whether or not you want to lose all those links and your account at Instagram before you just go and delete the account.

Links are how the web is constructed... and by deleting your account you'll be tearing a hole in your own personal web of content!

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