Instagram Adds Facebook Data Sharing to Privacy Policy (Without a Meaningless Vote)

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Earlier this month, Facebook held its third and final Site Governance vote. Facebook's Site Governance system allowed users to vote on proposed changes to their terms and data us policies.

While the vote was unique because it turned out to be a vote on the future of voting on the site, the actual data use policy changes included involved Facebook's "affiliates," most notably Instagram. Facebook wanted to give itself the ability to share user info with the newly-acquired Instagram.

"This provision is standard in the industry and promotes the efficient and effective use of the services Facebook and its affiliates provide," said Facebook. "As many people know, we recently acquired Instagram. This provision covers Instagram and allows us to store Instagram’s server logs and administrative records in a way that is more efficient than maintaining totally separate storage systems. We’ve added additional language to this proposal to clarify that the sharing of information among our affiliates is and will be done in compliance with all applicable laws, and where additional consent of our users is required, we will obtain it."

As you may have heard, those policy changes were adopted after Facebook only received around 0.7% of voter participation in the Site Governance vote. The company required 30%, or roughly 300 million users to participate in order to make the results binding. Although the majority of voters voted against the new policy changes, Facebook was able to pass them through under advisement, as that's what the now-defunct voting system allowed for.

Today, it's Instagram's turn to tell its users about the new data-sharing updates to their privacy policy.

Instagram explains the change as such:

In September 2012, we announced that Instagram had been acquired by Facebook. We knew that by teaming up with Facebook, we could build a better Instagram for you. Since then, we've been collaborating with Facebook's team on ways to do just that. As part of our new collaboration, we've learned that by being able to share insights and information with each other, we can build better experiences for our users.

We're updating our Privacy Policy to highlight this new collaboration, but we want to make sure you understand that you still have control over who sees your photos. You still get to choose who can see your Instagram photos, and you still get to choose whether you post your photos on Facebook. So while we're looking forward to working closely with Facebook to build better experiences, we aren't changing the core features of the app that you've come to know and love.

In a blog post, the company says that the new data sharing will help them "fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used."

Along with the data sharing, Instagram has also updated their Terms of Service to include information on how to opt out of the company's arbitration system. If users choose not to opt out, they are prevented from participating in class-actions lawsuits against the company.

With the polices updated on both sites, Facebook and Instagram are now completely free to open up the user data flow. Instagram's new privacy policy officially takes effect on January 16th.

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

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