Instagram's new terms of use raise concerns

(CBS) -- Instagram, the popular photo-sharing mobile app, announced Monday changes to its privacy policy and terms of use. The new policies are slated to start on Jan. 16, 2013, but users are already raising concerns.

Language included in Instagram's new terms of user suggests that the company may accept payment to in exchange for the use of a person's username, likeness, photos and other data for sponsored content or promotions.

Regarding users' rights, Instagram's terms of use says:

"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."

Inside Facebook, a blog that follows Facebook news, speculates that the new terms may be to prepare Instagram for Facebook-style sponsored stories. The blog reported that Facebook recently faced a class action lawsuit where users sought compensation for having their names and photos used in ads.

Facebook announced its intentions to acquire Instagram in April. When all was settled, the social network paid $715 million in cash and stocks for the San Francisco-based company. The two companies have both expressed the desire to remain separate, while further integrating with each other.

Another change to Instagram's terms of use suggest that the company does necessarily not have to identify ads or sponsored content in its feed.

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

Instagram did not comment on specifics regarding its plans for advertising, but did release this statement to CBS News:

"As we've said in the past, we are continuing to evaluate when, how, and in what form advertising inside Instagram plays a role in creating value for users and brands alike."

The competition is getting fierce in the mobile photo-sharing space. Last week Twitter launched its own filters, after Instagram completely cut off support for photo previews. Flickr also revamped its mobile app to include new filters and a re-designed feed.

Users took to Twitter to air concerns over Instagram's terms, with threats to abandon the app. However, it's worth noting that similar comments have accompanied changes made to Facebook in the past, but the social network continues to grow.


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