Instagram officially says it’s sorry and takes back proposed advertising policy

instagram sorryWell that was fast. After updating its terms of service and privacy policy, enduring some incredible user wrath, issuing an apology and promising to – again – update its ToS, Instagram has gone and done just that. A representative has told us that CEO Kevin Systrom published yet another post explaining Instagram’s new policies.

“In the days since [the update], it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.”

“The concerns we heard from you the most focused on advertising, and what our changes might mean for you and your photos. There was confusion and real concern about what our possible advertising products could look like and how they would work. 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.” [Emphasis Instagram’s.] 

Apparently, the uproar worked – at least partially. After Instagram was vilified all week for its first mention of a marketing strategy and the potential to turn our images into some sort of advertising means, it’s backtracking and returning us to the good old advertising terms, which have always stated:

“Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.”

Instagram is again reiterating that it “has no intentions” to sell our photos and that we are the sole owners of that content. However, while the advertising section of Instagram’s policy now reads the same, the new ToS and privacy policy are still being updated. These will go into effect on January 19.

Regardless of how much of the update is being changed to fit demands, this is a fairly big victory for users. A beloved product tried to pull a switch-up, we yelled, kicked, and screamed, and it changed course completely – and fast.

Systrom also acknowledges the violent reaction so many had to the announcement earlier in the week: “I’m proud that Instagram has a community that feels so strongly about a product we all love. I’m even more proud that you feel empowered to be vocal and approach us with constructive feedback to help us build a better product. Thank you for your feedback, and I look forward to all that Instagram has to bring into the New Year.”

Still, don’t expect things to stay the same forever. Instagram remains a Facebook property now, and a very valuable one. Monetization is unavoidable, though now it appears it may not be so brazenly instituted. Baby steps, Instagram. The more passionate the community, the more you have to spoon feed it changes.