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Instagram to start sharing user data with Facebook

The company says that the change to its privacy policy will allow it to do a better job fighting spam and detecting system problems.

Instagram, the photo-sharing service that Facebook bought out this year, has announced changes to its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

The company said today in a blog update that the changes will go into effect on January 16, and will in no way change how it handles photo ownership or who is able to see a user’s pictures. However, the updated privacy policy will allow Instagram to share user information with its corporate overlord, Facebook.

“This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly, and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used,” Instagram wrote today on its blog.

A key component in the Privacy Policy change, however, includes mention of “Affiliates.” Instagram doesn’t specifically identify which companies are considered affiliates, but the company does note that they’re providing their “own services (including providing you with better and more relevant experiences).” In other words, advertising could be included.

Facebook announced earlier this year that it would acquire Instagram for $1 billion, and closed the deal in September. At that time, Instagram announced that over 5 billion photos had been shared across its network.

Instagram’s privacy policy change will likely not arouse as much suspicion as Google’s did earlier this year when that company announced its broad modifications. The privacy policy caught the ire of regulators around the world who demanded changes. For its part, Google has been steadfast in its contention that the privacy policy helps both the search giant and its users.

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