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Facebook backs away from controversial changes after backlash

Facebook has backed awaychanges to its terms of use policy

were announced on Instagram’s blog on Monday

According to the proposed policy, people who use or access Instagram after Jan. 16 would have agreed that businesses may pay Instagram to display their data, including photos, username and other information, “in connection with paid or sponsored content and promotions.” Users would have also agreed Instagram didn’t have to share any money raised with such activities.

Any changes to the terms could affect users as young as 13, the minimum age for Instagram users.

David Murakami Wood, Canada Research Chair in surveillance studies at Queen’s University, said it was a matter of time before Instagram, which is free, began to look for compensation for its services.

In the past, people wouldn’t expect a business to develop their film photos for free, he said. “Most people, if they’re being honest with themselves, have to admit they can’t have expected this to continue forever.”

But the way Instagram appeared to suddenly claim ownership of users’ photos was “not a sensible way of doing business,” Murakami Wood said.

“In many cases, this is typical of Facebook … they tend to hide changes which are quite important to users’ data as kind of minor terms of service changes.”

On Tuesday, Instagram and Facebook were trending Canada-wide on Twitter, with many users threatening to delete their accounts.

Some even used Instagram to express their anger with Instagram, with more than 1,000 users posting photo messages under the hashtag #boycottInstagram.

A better way for Facebook to make money from Instagram would be to start charging for the service, then negotiating with individual users about how their data can be used, Murakami Wood said.

“We’ve got to start having better negotiated consensual relationships about data, whether it’s photos (or) our personal information.”

It’s not the first time Facebook has received backlash over privacy concerns.

A year ago, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission accused Facebook of using deceptive practices and told the company it had to respect its users’ privacy.

Facebook released updated privacy controls a few days ago to try to ease users’ concerns.

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