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Nothing Is “Free” On The Internet, The Instagram Mess

I am sure most of you have friends freaking out today about Instagram’s new terms of service.  The new TOS says they will have the right to allow third party advertisers to use your photos in the ads.  While this seems scary, have any of you read the terms of service for Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, or other online services?  Facebook allows advertisers to use your name in ads for companies that you like, Gmail scans your e-mails to put ads that match the topic on the right side of the screen, etc, etc, etc.  The point is that if you are using a product that you are not paying for, you are paying for it with your information.  Some are not bothered by this, and some are.  You have to decide what is right for you, but the storm today over Instagram is comical.  They have always had these rights to your pictures.  When they were a small company launching, their terms were just very vague.  Now that they are owned by Facebook, and will be sharing more information with Facebook they had to rewrite these Terms in a more detailed and specific way.

If you are looking for a service that allows you full ownership of your pictures, Flickr does still do this.  They make their money by selling a pro account that gives you extra storage and features.  On the e-mail side Microsoft allows you to opt out of advertising by paying a yearly fee for outlook.com (old hotmail.com and live.com).

Just remember nothing is free online.  Instead of money, you are paying with pictures, likes, check-ins, and comments.