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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 18, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

    Instagram reveals new user numbers

    Ciara O'Brien

    Late last year, Instagram did what every social networking company does from time to time: it announced it would update its terms of use. What it hadn’t counted on was the massive backlash that came after some careful reading uncovered a few things that caused some red flags among users. The vague language meant that, in theory, your images could have been used in advertising without you knowing. There were also concerns that the photosharing service planned to sell photos.

    There were thousands of people threatening to leave Instagram as a result. Accounts were made private, people rushed to download their photos before wiping all evidence they ever shared an image through Instagram. But new figures today show that 90 million people still use the service every month, and 40 million photos are uploaded every day. Not bad for a service that most of us thought had signed its own death warrant.

    (Daily active users are down, though, and falling, according to AppStats. It’s not clear if that’s a long-term trend yet.)

    Perhaps it was the reaction that stopped people in their tracks. The company backtracked within days, and has since removed some of the more controversial elements of the terms of use.

    In its defence, Instagram said it merely wanted to experiment with “innovative” advertising that wouldn’t impact negatively on users’ experience of the service. The new terms were also intended to help share data between the service and Facebook.

    “To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos,” co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post. “We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

    And Instagram was equally clear on what it meant for users’ privacy; it would respect the settings applied by each user. In other words, private photos would stay private.

    The updated terms, which come into effect from tomorrow, can be found here.