“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 passage said.
The user content referred to extends beyond users’ photographs -- the core of Instagram’s service that has defined the mobile social network until now -- into “other materials,” though the exact implications of the revised statement are vague.
Instagram’s added comment about “the same group of companies that Instagram is part of” refers to Facebook, which last week revised its own privacy and data usage policy after closing down a participatory feature that allowed users to vote on proposed changes to the social network’s features and governance policies.
Taken together, these two developments suggest that Facebook user data could ultimately be sent to any number of its partners, including Instagram and any others acquired in the future. Facebook seems primed to develop its various subsidiaries and added web properties beyond the social network into a unified, cohesive Web platform similar to that provided by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).
“But these affiliates will honor the choices you make about who can see your photos,” the statement read.
The policy also kept language implying that Instagram may eventually introduce advertisements in a move to monetize the service similar to Facebook.
Just last month, Instagram introduced “web profiles” that are nearly identical to Facebook profiles in an effort to bring the photo-editing and sharing network out of its almost exclusively mobile ecosystem. Advertisements would only make the two services that much more similar than ever before as both services continue to search for an unobtrusive way to monetize their massive base of users. As Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson told Business Insider last week: “Eventually we’ll figure out a way to monetize Instagram.”