Instagram update adds filter, tools after license kerfuffle


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It was business as usual for Instagram's developers this week despite the kerfuffle over the photo-sharing service's overreaching terms of use agreement.

An update of Instagram's software was rolled out Thursday after the service backed off changes to its use policy that were widely interpreted as allowing Instagram to sell its members' photos, without compensation, to advertisers.

That's not the intent of the policy changes, maintained Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom in a blog item titled "Thank you, and we're listening." He explained, "To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos."

Mayfair photo filter functions

In the Instagram update released this week for both the Android and iOS versions of the software, a new filter has been added (Mayfair), as well as better integration with Facebook, some bug fixes, performance improvements, and language support expansion to 25 languages.

The Mayfair filter, which doesn't seem to do much at all to a image, lightens the center of a photo and adds a very faint purple tint to it.

The iOS release of the update also allows for sharing photos from any album and contains a fix for a bug that affected importing images from third-parties.

In response to user outrage with its policy changes, Instagram has reverted to the language in an older version of its terms of use agreement. That, though, may be even worse for users, according to PCWorld's Ian Paul. Those terms provide:

"You hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you."

"Instagram's advertising terms seem far broader under this policy than they did under the proposal that engendered such a huge backlash," Paul writes.

Other recent scuffles

The terms of use flap is just the most recent that Instagram has found itself embroiled in in recent times. Two weeks ago it ignited an uproar when it scrapped support of Twitter cards.

Twitter cards allow rich media to be posted in tweets that appear in a user's feed stream on the microblogging service. Before Instagram withdrew support for cards, Instagram pictures could appear in their full glory on Twitter.

Now only links to Instagram pictures appear in tweets. The only way to see the photo connected to the link is to click the link and go to Instagram's website for a peek.

While Instagram's withdrawal of card support appears to be designed to drive more traffic to its website, its timing made it seem as if it were retaliating against Twitter for past sins against the photo-sharing service.

For example, when Twitter revamped the rules for accessing its API, it cut off access by Instagram (and other services) to the microblogging service's "find your friends" feature, which allowed Instagram users to follow the same people they followed on Twitter.

In addition, the card-scotching move occurred just days before Twitter rolled out a new version of its mobile app that included photo filters, a strategy seen as a bold attempt to wean shuttterbugs away from Instagram.

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