By Adrian Covert @CNNMoney December 19, 2012: 9:56 AM ET


After Instagram changed its terms of service, giving the company commercial rights to user accounts and images, the site’s users revolted. And rightfully so, because in a worst-case scenario, the new rules would allow the company to sell your images to outside parties to use however they please.

Instagram quickly backtracked, saying that’s not what it meant and that it will “modify specific parts” of the new terms to make its intentions clearer. Its aim appears to be to incorporate your personal information into sponsored posts, along the lines of what Instagram’s parent company, Facebook (FB), already does with its Sponsored Stories ads. Those ads pull in users’ profile photos for messages promoting brands that users have chosen to “like.” (Instagram operates independently from Facebook — for now — and the two sites have their own, separate terms of service.)

The wording of its terms gives Instagram wriggle room to change its mind, but for now, launching into a full-scale panic seems unnecessary.

But if you’re concerned about corporate overlords getting their money-grubbing hands on your creations, there are some steps you can take.

Set your account to private: Instagram reiterated on Tuesday that private accounts will remain private. That means your photos can only be seen by the people to whom you’ve granted access. If you’re bothered by strangers viewing your pics, a private account is the way to go.

What a “private” account won’t do, though, is entirely opt you out of Facebook’s advertising. Instagram will still be able to use your data in targeted commercial messages shown to your friends and followers.

If you’re bothered by the idea of someone making money off your creative work on Instagram, that a different issue. You’re using a free service, and as Instagram said Tuesday in its blog post: “From the start, Instagram was created to become a business.”

If that’s not a tradeoff you’re willing to accept, the best move may be for you to stop using Instagram altogether.

Back up your data: OK, you’ve decided to ditch Instagram. That might be a bit extreme, but it’s understandable. The first thing you should do before you wipe out your account is to copy all those snapshots documenting the last year or two of your life.

Right now, you have two options: Instarchive and Instaport. Both services will have you log in using Instagram’s API (a tool that gives other sites access to Instagram’s data) and automatically d
Either way, once you’ve backed up your year’s work, you can entirely erase your photo trail from Instagram’s servers. That’s the nuclear option. Your photos will be “removed permanently and will not be recoverable,” Instagram says.ownload your photos as a compressed .ZIP file. Instaport appears to be overloaded by the number of backup requests at the moment and isn’t working, but it promises to let you export your images directly to another service in the future.