Instagram Selling Your Photos & Other Risks of Posting Online

The online world is abuzz with news of the photo sharing service Instagram (recently acquired by Facebook) which has changed its terms of service to allow for the possible sale of people’s photos — without the photographer making a penny.  This is just the latest example of a problem I’ve been trying to educate people about for years now: who owns your information when you post it online?

I’ve just posted this audio lesson which you can listen to and learn more about this problem, which affects everyone who posts anything online such as photos, Facebook or Twitter posts, etc., as well as potentially people who store information online in online “cloud” storage, and the many people who use web-based email services such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and so on.

I recorded this audio lesson a couple of years ago, and I’ve talked about the problem in recorded lessons as well as here on my newsletter, and it seems like finally people out there are starting to wake up to this.

If you’re not familiar with Instagram, they started out as an iPhone app a couple of years ago, then became available for other brands of smartphones (Android) more recently.  They made the mainstream news a few months ago because Facebook bought the company for one BILLION dollars.  Yes, that’s billion, not million!

Want to see an example of an Instagram account? Take a look at mine, where I post photos of Hawaii, where I live:

(And unlike the stereotype of Instagram users, you’ll see I don’t use “filters” to change the look of my photos)

Why did Facebook buy Instagram? To have access to your photos, but even more importantly, to have access to the information hidden inside those photos.

I’ve spoken before about “metadata” which is hidden information in many types of files, including photos. Modern cameras and smartphones (which of course have cameras built in) store information in the pictures, including the make and model of the camera/phone, as well as GPS location information.

Facebook now has access to all of that metadata and can learn more about who you are and where you go.  They also claim the right to be able to use your photos (while insisting they don’t own them) in any way they see fit, including the possibility of selling them and not paying you, which is what has gotten everyone into an uproar.

Anyway, I just figured I’d share this audio lesson with you, so you can understand some of the issues better.

Until next time, take care and enjoy,

Worth Godwin
Plain English Simplicity For This Complex Modern World