“Thank you, and we’re listening,” tweeted Instagram. The site was responding to the controversy over privacy changes that would technically allow users to appear in advertisements without their knowledge, a move ready to take effect on January 16. Faced with a steady stream of disapproval, and plenty of press attention to support the outcry, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom took the lead in communicating how the initiative was being retracted.
“Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010.” Systrom wrote in a blog, pointing readers to the current terms.
The update which stirred up users was an attempt to allow advertisers in Facebook’s ad networks to use data and information shared on Instagram , which Facebook owns, to better target advertising. Users called it a ploy to sell their content. Systrom addressed that misunderstanding.
“You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content,” he wrote. “I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos — you do.”
Still, with the apology to quell a veritable user firestorm out of the way, the photo-sharing platform hinted that moving forward it may not be so transparent. Systrom added that Instagram will no longer “obtain permission from you” when planning out its advertising, but instead “complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.”