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Instagram 'won't sell user photos'

Photo website Instagram plans to modify its terms of service in the wake of a huge backlash over apparent plans to claim the rights of people's pictures and sell them to advertisers.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, updated its terms and conditions on Monday, sparking concerns that it now claims ownership over users' photos and can sell them to advertisers whether they consent or not.

But the mobile photo-sharing company released a blog post insisting it is not claiming ownership rights, and has no plans to sell pictures to advertisers.

In the post, titled "Thank you, and we're listening", Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said after releasing the new version of the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service - due to take effect in 30 days - the company had heard "loud and clear" from "confused and upset" users.

"I'm writing this today to let you know we're listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion," he said.

"As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we're going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos. Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I'd like to address specific concerns we've heard from everyone".

Mr Systrom said changes to the terms were hoped to show that Instagram wanted to experiment with innovative advertising.

"Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."

Instagram's decision to modify its terms of service came after a wave of celebrities took to Twitter to criticise the company and urge fans to boycott the app. The messages were sent to millions of Twitter users and retweeted thousands of times in what amounted to an international PR disaster for the online photo-sharing service.

Singer Pink told her 12 million followers: "I will be quitting Instagram today. What a bummer. You should all read their new rules." Austin Powers and Family Guy actor Seth Green said he might delete his account, later writing that the new policy was about "selling ads against your pix w/out telling or including you".

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