12 On Your Side: Social media sign of the times

12 On Your Side
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Dec. 28, 2012

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- Instagram has taken a huge hit after announcing it had the right to sell your pictures to advertisers without your permission. The social media photo sharing website reverted back to its old policy after a public outcry.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Patrick King is never one to be lost for words.

"I've been taking photos for years and I am a professional photographer," he said.

King is not only a photographer but is also a social media expert at USC Aiken.

"Instagram is trying to make some money off of advertising and they want to be able to offer their partners the ability to purchase your photos but you don't get the money," King said.

Instagram is used by 16.4 million people. But after the site's announcement that it could sell your pictures without your consent, the number of users dropped to 12.4 million.

"It was a huge outcry mainly because then Instagram is saying you don't own your photos own your photos and we have the ability to make money off of that," King said.

Instagram quickly withdrew its new policy, citing a misunderstanding, and returned to the old rules. However, King warns this is possibly a sign of the future for social media.

"I think its a cautious tale for Instagram to say, 'Oh we need to think of another way of making revenue,'" he said. "You are going to see changes whether it be Instagram or Facebook or any of the other social media."

King says the best way to protect yourself is to stay constantly updated with each social media's terms of agreement. Also consider copyrighting pictures or putting your name across each one photo to prevent it from being sold.

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