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Instagram users rebel over privacy changes

San Francisco (dpa) – Users of the photo-sharing app Instagram reacted angrily Tuesday to changes in privacy protection that would allow the company to sell their photographs to advertisers.

The changes were detailed in an update to Instagram’s terms of service, and were dubbed a ”suicide note” by one influential user in an online tirade against the company, which was bought earlier this year by Facebook for 1 billion dollars.

Instagram announced in the update that it may show ads on the site and share data with Facebook. The most controversial update stated that ”a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos and/or any actions you take … without any compensation to you.”

Clayton Cubbitt, a New York photographer who is one of the site’s most influential users, said in a message posted on the site that the change in the terms of service represented ”Instagram’s suicide note.

Other users, including pop star Pink, said they would close their Instagram accounts and share their pictures on one of the many competing services.

Analyst Michael Gartenberg said that Instagram was widely expected to start monetizing its service, but may have taken things too far.

”While consumers may be okay with ad-supported services, providing content, sometimes personal, for ads may well cause a backlash for both Instagram and Facebook,” Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner Inc., told dpa.

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom reacted later Tuesday to the uproar.

”We’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean,” he wrote in a blog posting. ”I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion.

”As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.”