Last month there was uproar from Instagram users after the photo-sharing service announced that new terms would allow it to sell user photos for advertising purposes. While the company almost immediately changed back to the original policy, it appears that brands are still finding their way around the fine print.
According to AdAge, social media-management company Venueseen opened an application programing interface for an Indy 500 marketing campaign that would enable brands to use user-uploaded photos (with consent). To kick off the campaign, geotags will be used to plot Instagram photos with an #Indy500orBust hashtag on an interactive map.
While Indy 500 Marketing Director, Jarrod Krisiloff, insists that the photos will only be used on Indy500orBust.com, and not shared commercially, brand Instagram photo usage treads a slippery slope. We may be able to take the Indy 500 and Venueseen at their word about photos not be used outside the site, but it appears that Pandora’s Box could be opening again. The Indy 500 is the first to use Venueseen’s API right now; however, it is also available to any other brands interested. Instagram photos have always been considered public domain, but if the user reaction to this is similar to that of last month, then Instagram may have to rethink how it communicates its intentions to its fan base.