The recent panic over Instagram’s changes to its privacy and terms of service that appeared to give it the right to sell on users’ photographs, including hair images, reinforces the need to watermark all photos across all social networks, warns social media expert Valorie Reavis, founder of Linkup Marketing.
The changes, announced just days before the holidays, were interpreted by many as a move to give the Facebook-owned network the right to sell on any images to advertisers without warning and without payment. The following day, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom issued a blog reassuring users that the network was listening and would ‘eliminate the confusion’. However it is clear the network still has plans to monetize its service.
‘Instagram’s response to their users indicates that future advertising efforts will be for and by the user, rather than allowing others to use the images, but none of this will be clear until the updated terms are released,’ said Reavis. ‘Before we go and delete our accounts, it’s probably better to consider how to protect ourselves in case the original interpretation becomes reality. Whether it’s Instagram 2013 or another network in the future, copyright is still a huge question mark.’
Users were advised that Instagram’s new privacy rules would take effect January 16 and that the only way not to fall foul of them was to delete their account. However, Reavis advised against a knee-jerk reaction. She has now posted advice on how to watermark photos on her blog http://linkupmarketing.com/blog/watermarking-your-photos/
‘Instagram is still the go-to network for quick image sharing, and with hair and beauty being such a visual industry, it’s the perfect place to connect with current and potential clients and industry peers to showcase any work,’ she said. ‘But to avoid photos being used or sold without your knowledge or permission, users should use a watermark or apply a brand’s logo to the image itself before it gets uploaded to Instagram. This keeps the business in the viewer’s mind and makes the photo useless to another company.’
Instagram was acquired by Facebook earlier this year and currently hosts more than four billion images.