National Geographic returns to Instagram


A man shows the smartphone photo sharing application Instagram on an iPhone on April 10, 2012 in Paris, one day after Facebook announced a billion-dollar-deal to buy the start-up behind Instagram. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
December 21, 2012

National Geographic announced it will begin posting photographs to Instagram again, after the photo-sharing site said it will keep some of the language in its current terms of use.

The people who run the magazine’s Instagram account were one of many users who expressed concern after Instagram posted new guidelines that seemed to indicate the company could use user photos in advertising on the site without permission. National Geographic then said it would suspend posting photos to the network, and that it may close its account if the new terms went into effect.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, subsequently announced Thursday night that it will revert the advertising section of its terms of use to the original version.

On Friday afternoon, the magazine posted a message to its Instagram account to announce it would resume posting.

“@NatGeo applauds all who raised their voices as well as Instagram for listening and acting on its community’s concerns,” the message said. “We are happy to be back, and National Geographic photographers all over the world look forward to continuing to share their images with each of you.”

Minutes later, the account posted a picture of Antarctica to its profile page.

As The Washington Post reported, even the current Instagram terms of use could technically allow the network to license photos, though users have some ability to restrict access with privacy settings.

And this certainly doesn’t mean that the debate won’t resurface. In Thursday’s post, Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom said that the company will explain plans for specific advertising products with users in the future, but didn’t specify what those plans may be.

(Washington Post. Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories:

Instagram outrage reveals a powerful but unaware Web community

Reacting to users’ outcry, Instagram reverts to prior policy on advertising

Instagram alternatives, steps to consider before deleting your account

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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