National Geographic has pulled the plug on its Instagram account, giving the Instagram Privacy Policy controversy a murkier turn. The magazine announced its decision via Instagram itself.

NatGeo put up an image on its official Instagram account that read, “We are very concerned with the direction of the proposed new terms service and if they remain as presented we may close our account.” The post had over 36,000 ‘loves’ and nearly 3,000 comments at the time of publishing. It’s the first case of a big brand name expressing outrage over the photo-sharing app’s changed Terms of Service and Privacy Policy statements.

Earlier this week, Instagram set the web world on fire when it released its new Terms of Services, which made it look like Instagram owned all user generated images and was free to sell them or use it in advertisements as and when it pleased. The updated agreement was to come into effect on January 16, 2013, setting off alarm bells and forcing a lot of users to quit the site by shutting down their accounts.

Nat Geo's Instagram image

Nat Geo's Instagram image

Instagram had mentioned in its original blog post that the updated privacy policy was to help it function as a part of the social networking giant and parent company Facebook with ease by sharing information between the two of them. This way, it believed that they will be able to fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems quicker and also build better features for users, by learning better how the platform is being used. The updated Terms of Service, Instagram says, was supposed to help protect users and prevent spam and abuse.

Users took to other social networking websites to express outrage over the terms as co-founder Kevin Systrom was forced to issue an apology regarding the confusion. Systrom attempted to clear the air saying that Instagram had no intentions of selling user-generated content or to allow photos to be used in advertisements. “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,” Systrom said in the blog.

Systrom asserted that Instagram did not own any photos submitted by users, Systrom wrote, ”Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.

Talking about privacy issues, Systrom mentioned that nothing about image privacy will change come January. If a user has set his or her profile to private, only users they approve of will be able to see that user’s images.

Systrom’s explanations have not seemed to have any effect on NatGeo as of yet, with the official account maintaining a stoic silence over it. No one knows for sure if the magazine will continue with Instagramming its images, but the damage has definitely been done to the Facebook owned photo sharing site.

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