On January 16, the photos you upload to Instagram can be used for third-party advertising. This change in Instagram's policy means that the photos you take of your kids, pets, family, or anything else, can be sold without even notifying you. If you decide to wait until after January 16 to close your Instagram account, your photos could still be used or sold.
Not really feeling the change? You're not alone. Many users are wondering what they can do with their Instagram account -- whether they can download all of their photos and preserve their privacy, or if they are stuck giving Facebook free advertising material.
On the bright side, you can download all of your Instagram photos, and it's not a difficult process. Back in April, Jason Parker discussed using Instaport, a Web app that can grab all of your photos for download or relocation to another cloud service. You'll have to authorize Instaport to use your account, and then you can decide what to do with your photos. You may experience a bit of wait time when trying to use Instaport these days. It's even added a text banner on its page notifying users about heavy traffic.
Once you're done exporting your creative content, it's safe to delete your Instagram account. With the profile pages Instagram rolled out, it's easy to find the link for deletion. Just head to Instagram and click on the menu with your username in the top-right-hand corner (you may need to log in first), then select Edit Profile.
You'll see a link that says "I'd like to delete my account" in the bottom-right-hand corner. Click this link, tell Instagram why you're leaving, and you're done.
As CNET's Declan McCullagh points out, the language used in the new policy may be more broad than necessary or intended. However, if that language has already killed off your taste for Instagram and all its photo filters, at least you can save your masterpieces before jumping ship.