Hello ECI832!

Social media tools have evolved as an integral part of our youth and has become a backbone of the way  they communicate these days. They connect to each other, share news, calendar things. While these applications are beneficial tools for exchanging information many users sign into it without understanding the terms of services and its privacy policy. The terms of service are perhaps one of the least-read parts of any social networking application or websites and a user’s normally hop over it while registering and later are concerned that their private information are being circulated far more widely than they should be. In this blog post I will analyse the terms of services and privacy policy of Instagram.

Instagram is a digital photo sharing application which permits its user to add filters and effects to images, videos  and share them easily over the Internet. Instagram is a very popular social networking application which is currently owned by Facebook. It is a free service application which allows users to share their snaps with friends and family. By using the Instagram service, the users are agreeing to be bound by  its terms and conditions. An Instagrammer must be 13 years or older to use the services of the

Gif Via Giphy

Instagram and is responsible for any action that happens under his/her username name. By agreeing to the terms and conditions of the application the user acknowledges that he/she will not post any obscene photos or videos and do not indulge in mistreating, harassing, bullying, impersonating or intimidating other Instagram users, even an International user must agree to obey with all local laws regarding online behavior and adequate content. An Instagrammer is accountable for their behavior online and completely responsible for their actions in the application (posting images, videos, audio).

The Proprietary Rights section on Instagram clearly states that the user owns the photographs, other images or video/audio content that he/she posts on Instagram. The service provider does not become the proprietor of the posted content. The Copyright law itself (in-regards to the country where the images are replicated or shared) is what administers the use of your Instagram multimedia images and other content by any third parties. By the benefit of sharing images on Instagram, the user is not giving up the rights on their content and for most uses outside of Instagram, any third party should be seeking consent from the user to use your images or other content. Anyhow, there are some exception in some situations which is termed as fair use in USA, Canada and UK which allow individuals to use Instagrammer’s content under few circumstances without the user’s approval.  

In its official privacy policy, Instagram plainly lays out what information it collects from its users. The Instagram terms of service and privacy policy states that, as a service provider they collect information on their users in a variety of different ways from provided information. Which means that they can monitor the users IP addresses, the websites the user visits, whereabouts, acquaintances, communication’s, etc. Instagram may use and share this data to their third party associates and marketing partners to improve and personalize the users experience, improve and evolve new features and offer new and exciting services for their users. This means that, as a service provider Instagram is not only the sole organisation who has the access to the user’s information but their associates also have the same. Instagram clearly states that a user is completely responsible for their safety as they are responsible for keeping their password secure yet they share information about the users with their associates and this has caused some safety concerns among the users. The application permits the user to make their account private so that other instagrammers cannot use searchable hashtags in their content, a user can also limit Instagram’s ability to track their whereabouts, especially when a user is on a mobile device. A user can not only turn off any location settings in the Instagram application on a mobile device, but can also check their profile page for the list of all of their image geotags.

Finally, I fell that it is always good that a user should be informative and thoughtful about the terms of services and privacy policy so that they would be prepared to oversee the ways in which the information about them, their content and private information that is shared on social networks could compromise  their security.

Instagram has so much to offer and also poses many concerns, an article Understanding Instagram’s privacy settings states how easy it is to trade away your privacy in social networking apps like Instagram and explains steps how to take some of it back and be secured, I think that every social networking tool has its pros and cons. In my next post I will be reviewing about the app’s educational value and how best we can use it in educational realm. For now, I would love to hear about your thoughts and concerns on Instagram’s privacy implications and its educational value and usage?





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