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Looks like Instagram will be working hard to end 2012 on a good note! On Monday, December 17th, the free photo-sharing service did not only add a new filter to the application, but they also released a new Terms of Service, which said would take effect on January 16, 2013. The updated user agreement suggested that the company now had the right to sell users’ photographs without consent or royalties as a means for advertisements. Yes – that meant that your perfectly captured photo of a sunset with an X-Pro II filter could be used by your favorite travel company and turned into an ad. This clearly did not settle well with the user base, quickly sparking backlash on an issue that Facebook continues to battle with. The noted online blog Gawker labeled the new policy “Instagram’s suicide note“.

Instagram was first launched as an iPhone app on October 6, 2010. By September 2011, it reached 10 million registered users. In April 2012, news broke that Facebook would be acquiring the thriving application for about $1 billion.

In addition to the uproar by thousands of users, celebrities such as Anderson Cooper, Emma Roberts, Mark Hoppus and Khloe Kardashian Odom also chimed in with their thoughts via Twitter, vowing to delete their Instagram accounts. With more than 100 million users and growing, as one of the fastest growing social networks, Instagram definitely can’t afford to lose valuable users.

To avoid this from happening, Instagram quickly retracted their policy changes, stating that they plan “to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear with what will happen with your photos.”  While the outcome is still unclear, this policy faux pas prompted online users to raise question to other photo-sharing networks such as Hipstamatic, Flickr and PicYou.

Now, to delete or not to delete – that is the question. Has Instagram’s new policy changed the way you’ll be sharing your photos online? Comment below and tell us what you think!

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