Instagram has back-tracked on a move which would have made the great train robbery look fairly tame.The photo-sharing service, which is now owned by Facebook, had a cunning plan to use Facebook's terms and conditions to steal snaps posted by users and flog them for its own fun and profit.
This means that pictures taken by ordinary people and posted for their friends to see could suddenly find themselves in mainstream advertising campaigns. That last snap you took of your mother before she croaked could end up advertising anal gel and to make matters worse you would not get a penny.
Needless to say there was a growing public outcry about the move which was covered as part of Facebook's new privacy policies.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Instagram insisted that it has "no plans" to incorporate user photos into ads.
Writing from his bog, Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said that users had incorrectly interpreted Instagram's revised terms of service. He said that user photos would not be sold to others without compensation."It is not our intention to sell your photos," Systrom said. "We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."
Instagram did confirm that it may display users' profile pictures and information about who it follows as part of an ad. This is a social marketing technique similar to what Facebook uses in its "sponsored stories" ad product.
But the company will not incorporate users' uploaded photos as ads because the service wants "to avoid things like advertising banners."
Facebook bought the fast-growing photo service in a cash-and-stock deal valued initially at $1 billion.