For many people, the end of the year is a hodgepodge of too much to do without the necessary time to do it, and sometimes things get a little sloppy in the process. That was certainly the case earlier this week when Instagram announced that its new terms of service would take effect on Jan. 16, 2013. The photo-sharing network’s TOS was not well-received by users, though. That backlash, along with some interesting Facebook news, is what we discuss in this week’s TM podcast.

Can Instagram really sell your photos?

Can Instagram really sell your photos?

In short, yes they can. Like Facebook, Google and any other free online service, users relinquish true ownership of any and all content they upload, primarily because these are free services. The question shouldn’t be whether Instagram can sell your photos to advertisers, but if they should be able to sell your photos. When Instagram announced its new TOS, The New York Times was the first to uncover the fact that users’ photos were now available for sale. And to add salt to the wound, Instagram wasn’t even going to pay its users for photos it sold to advertisers. Here is the controversial language:

You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you …

Just like Netflix’s Quickster debacle, this was met with heavy resistance and promises to leave from some of the network’s most popular users. It was only a few days before Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom announced in a blog post that the network was making an about-face and would no longer be selling users’ content. He wrote:

Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

While it’s comforting to see that Instagram is taking actions to right its wrong, it’s unclear as to whether its misstep was intentional or a gaffe. There is one thing we do know, though–this is a very good time for Flickr’s new iOS app.

Facebook’s new ‘Nearby’ search

There have been rumors for a while that Facebook is trying to get into the search game and it seems that it finally took a step toward that goal. This week, Facebook refreshed its mobile “Nearby” search results to show more than just your friends who are close by, but also businesses. This could be potentially be huge for small local businesses on Facebook and could get them exposed to audiences that might not otherwise know about them. There is one thing that we think is missing from Facebook brand pages, though, and that’s the ability to have multiple locations without creating more than one page. Until then, if you manage a brand page, make sure the page is optimized with the current address, phone number and other contact information and is updated regularly, this will give you a better chance at getting found.

Want to learn more about these topics as well as what we think is in store for LinkedIn in 2013? Listen to our podcast below! Have a great holiday, everyone!

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