Mobile App Security Matters, Instagram is Proof

Comments such as “My photos are mine not yours” or “I will not let Instagram sell my photos” have flooded cyber space since mobile app Instagram updated its terms of service yesterday. Countless users have threatened to drop Instagram, or have dropped the app all together permanently deleting their accounts. The reality is, the updated terms of service scared users. The terms of service – which have been removed since – previously read:

“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

Users felt the statement implied that their photos would be sold or used in ads. Meghan Kelly of VentureBeat says Instagram co-found, Kevin Systrom, has clarified in a post this is not the case:

“Systrom clarified: ‘It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.’

Systrom ends the post saying that your privacy settings will not change — if only your friends can see your photos, then only your friends will see your photos — and that we can expect more updates soon. This likely means that the company is going to send out a revised version of its terms of service with the changes highlighted above.”

We’ve mentioned before how important it is for app developers to make their terms and conditions clear, and to avoid any mobile app permission requests if possible. However, this major misunderstanding and the customer outrage that followed should tell all app developers just how essential privacy and confidentiality are. In a world where users are increasingly relying on their mobile devices for everything, mobile security and privacy are no longer an option. If you hinder your users trust with sketchy terms of service or a security breach – you run the risk of permanently destroying your brand.

The good news is – Systrom says your Instagram data will be kept private. For users still concerned, keep your eyes out for the new terms of service.

To learn more about mobile app security click here.

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