Walmart has paid for hundreds of thousands of photos on Instagram, with the company paying for Instagram ads to appear in its catalogs and advertisements on its television and radio stations.
The company says it doesn’t have any control over how people use Instagram.
Walmart says the photo ads are designed to help people get to know each other and to promote the products they buy.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the deal on Tuesday.
The Associated Press has not independently verified the allegations.
The deal includes images of clothing, furniture and home furnishings from Walmart, and it includes images from the company’s own advertising programs.
Walmart has been a key player in digital advertising for decades.
Its advertising campaigns have helped retailers, including Amazon and eBay, reach more than 100 million people in the U.S. and abroad.
The retailer is also the largest user of mobile apps and websites, according to data from analytics firm eMarketer.
Instagram has been criticized by privacy advocates, who say it is being used to target advertisers with ads based on how people interact with the social media platform.
The WSJ report noted that Instagram has received criticism for having a “massive and growing advertising budget” that is used to pay for Instagram’s advertising, which the company said was “unlimited” and does not involve paying for ads.
A spokeswoman for Walmart said the company does not comment on internal or external media.
The AP contacted Walmart to ask for comment on the WSJ article but did not receive a response.
Instagram, founded in 2012 by Mark Zuckerberg, has long been criticized for its privacy practices.
The social network’s recent announcement that it would begin selling data from users’ smartphones and tablets and using it to help advertisers target users is the latest sign that the company may be in the midst of a privacy battle.
The news comes as companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are trying to improve their privacy practices as they seek to build up market share in the digital advertising market.