Instagram will share user data with Facebook starting next month

It’s been clear from the beginning that Facebook’s Instagram buy was more than just about acquiring a photo-sharing service: Instead, Facebook was acquiring another data point.

Instagram is making that even more obvious today with its latest privacy policy update, which will solidify the information-sharing relationship between the two social networks when the sharing goes into effect on January 16.

“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,” the company said.

While that may be true, the truer reason for the integration is far more significant. By integrating data across services, Facebook and Instagram can learn a lot more about you, which makes you a lot more valuable to advertisers.

To be specific, take a look at the most juicy portions of the updated privacy policy. They’re a bit legalistically dense, but I’ve added a pair of translations.

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 (“Affiliates”).

Translation: Instagram is now wholly a part of Facebook, and so is Instragram’s data.

We may also share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners. This information would allow third-party ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you.

Translation: Everything you do on Instragram is now just as valuable as what you do on Facebook. Your location, usage habits, and device ID number will all inform what advertisements show up on either service.

What’s most amazing about the change is just how fast Facebook moved to implement it. The privacy changes were all proposed in the Facebook policy vote that closed a week ago. Unsurprisingly, Facebook is trying to get this off the ground as quickly as possible.


VentureBeat is studying the state of marketing technology. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.