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December 18, 2012

Instagram to Start Sharing User Data with Facebook

By Shankar Pandiath, TMCnet Contributor

Instagram recently updated its privacy policy, revealing that it will soon start sharing data with Facebook (News - Alert), which will go into effect January 16, 2013.

However, it also mentioned that it won't alter how it handles photo ownership or who will be able to see a user's pictures. But the updated privacy policy will allow Instagram to share user information with its corporate overlord, Facebook.

The company justifies its changes to its privacy policy stating that this will allow it to do a better job in detecting system problems and fighting spam. However, there is one key change in the new policy that specifically authorizes the sharing of user data with "affiliates," which it describes as "businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group.” In other words; Facebook and its family of businesses. 

Here’s the official word from Instagram’s blog  - Our updated privacy policy helps Instagram function more easily as part of Facebook by being able to share info between the two groups. This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used.

This move doesn't come as much of a surprise, given that following its acquisition of the firm; Facebook moved Instagram staffers into its offices and has been working closely alongside them. Facebook announced earlier this year that it would acquire Instagram for $1 billion, and closed the deal in September. At that time, Instagram announced that over five billion photos had been shared across its network.

The move might have been spurred by Instagram's recent falling out with Twitter (News - Alert), despite reports that the microblogging website once tried to acquire the photo sharing app.

Instagram's privacy policy change will likely not arouse as much suspicion as Google's (News - Alert) move earlier this year when the company announced its broad modifications that caught the ire of regulators around the world who demanded changes. For its part, Google has been steadfast in its contention that the privacy policy helps both the search giant and its users.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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