Instagram’s new Privacy Policy paves the way for deeper content integration with Facebook

Instagram’s new Privacy Policy paves the way for deeper content integration with Facebook

Instagram has published its new Privacy Policy today, revealing some new details about how it plans to link users’ accounts, photos and other content with Facebook sometime next year.

Most of the document, which comes into effect on January 16, remains unchanged since the previous version published in August, which was less than a week before Facebook formally closed its acquisition of the popular photo-editing and sharing app.

A new passage in Instagram’s Privacy Policy, which has been filed under the “Sharing of your Information” header, reads:

“We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group.”

The user content which is being referred to here includes not only users’ photographs, but also comments and “other materials”, which we can only assume relates to other metrics, such as likes or captions.

The second part, commenting on “the same group of companies that Instagram is part of” is, of course, referring to Facebook.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. When Facebook closed its voting site last week, which was designed to let its users vote on proposed policy and site governance changes, there were also a few noticeable updates to the network’s proposed Data Use Policy.

The most important of which means that, provided it is passed successfully, Facebook user data could be sent to any of its partners too, such as Instagram. Now that this bridge is starting to be built from the other side, there is clear evidence now, perhaps more than ever before, that Facebook is moving towards a single cohesive network similar to Google.

Instagram’s new Privacy Policy later adds:

“Affiliates may use this information to help provide, understand, and improve the Service (including by providing analytics) and Affiliates’ own services (including by providing you with better and more relevant experiences). But these Affiliates will honor the choices you make about who can see your photos.”

Again, the use of the phrase “affiliates’ own services” hints to a time, most likely later next year, where Instagram will have much deeper integration with Facebook, both in terms of its user uploaded content and accounts. Both sides are promising that you will have a clear choice over who is able to see your photos when the changes are introduced, but until we see some more detail, it’s hard to know just how impactful it will be.

Interestingly, the new Privacy Policy also retains a line that hints at the possible introduction of advertisements in Instagram. “We may ask advertisers or other partners to serve ads or services to your devices, which may use cookies or similar technologies placed by us or the third party,” it reads suggestively.

Although this was included in the previous version of the Privacy Policy, it shows that Facebook is still interested in the idea. An obvious implementation for advertisements would be the in-app feed, although perhaps the social network is considering some kind of link to the relatively new web profiles too.

It follows an alleged comment from Facebook’s Carolyn Everson, the VP of Global Marketing Solutions, who told Business Insider: “Eventually we’ll figure out a way to monetize Instagram.”

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