Laura Capel | Curtin University
“ Capture and share the
World’s moments ”
Instagram is a mobile photo-taking and photo-sharing app, wrapped in a social
Instagram in 6 easy steps:
1. Take a photo
2. Add a filter, add your location
4. Share it to other platforms
5. Like and Comment on other photos
6. Follow other users/be followed
As of September 2013
As one of 150 million Instagram users, did you read the
A survey conducted in Great Britain found that 93% of
people do not read the full terms when buying a
product or service online and therefore do not realise
the extent of the arrangements, rules, requirements
and standards they are agreeing to.
In a nutshell
Effective January 19, 2013
Your agreeable rights and responsibilities as a user
Instagram reserves the right to…
Your agreeable copyright and trademark rights (to protect Instagram and you)
Limitation of Liability
Specific legal provisions and
disclaimers which further
protect Instagram’s position
as a company
What have I agreed to?
Among other terms, users are bound by the following:
You have consented to being over 13 years old
You will not post violent, nude, discriminatory or unlawful photos
You are solely responsible for your account
You will not defame, stalk, bully or harass other users
You will not submit unwanted commercial comments or likes (spam)
Whilst the particulars may vary, these terms are very common among online services
apps and social networking platforms.
What does Instagram have the right to do?
Instagram can at any time, without notice:
Modify or terminate the service as a whole
Terminate a user’s access
These terms ensure that the responsibility of a user’s online activity is placed solely
on the user, however also gives Instagram the option to modify the service or the
Instagram does not claim ownership of any content and expressly state that any content
posted by user is legally owned by that user. This seems fair, however the following clause
grants Instagram the right to use any content without consent:
The terms stipulate that users grant a ‘non-exclusive, fully paid and royaltyfree, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license’ to any posted content. Legal
terms such as transferable and sub-licensable actually enable Instagram to sell any
content posted on the service to Advertisers.
The clauses relating to copyright ensure that the Instagram brand is protected through
trademarking and licensing and appears to give users full ownership and control over their
content, yet loopholes mean your content is not as protected as you think.
the following are most notable:
Instagram now reserves the right to share information with its newly acquired Parent
company, Facebook. Whilst Instagram have stated that it will solely improve function
between the two sites, it could be argued that this term would enable Facebook to better
target their advertisements with the help of photographs and other data from Instagram.
Instagram may also use any information such as usernames and photos in the interests of
delivering paid or sponsored content or promotions, without compensation.
Protecting your own content from Instagram is as easy as setting your profile to
private, however doesn’t that defeat the purpose of “capturing and sharing the world’s
What are the consequences of a breach of
Any form of non compliance with the Terms of
Use will result in your account being terminated.
It seems that the most common form of breach of
nude, partially nude, inappropriate or sexually suggestive
photos. Nine times out of ten however, the user will simply
sign up again with a new username.
(Instagram 2013) (Instagramers.com 2011)
Criticisms against Instagram’s
of the update being given in December 2012. The announcement was met with
widespread criticism from existing Instagram users:
A new clause stated that users agree that any business may pay Instagram
for the ability to display any user’s username, likeness or any of their photos
without notice or compensation to the user.
The clause also did not allow the user to opt out of this agreement without
deleting their account.
The criticism from privacy advocates and celebrities, which drove many to delete
their Instagram accounts and switch to other services, was later reworded by
This suggests that Instagram was simply seeing what they could get away with…
Terms and Conditions for online services are a
legal measure to ensure that the service provider
is neither responsible nor liable for any activity by
It is therefore paramount that you, the user,
understand all the terms you are bound by.
Next time, don’t just agree.
Horakzek, S. (2012). Instagram's New Terms of Service Make Lame Filters The Least Of User Worries. Pop Photo. Retrieved from
Instagramers.com. (2011). Pablo Almansa Removal Notification [Image]. Retrieved from
Pepitone, J. (2012, December 18). Instagram can now sell your photos for ads. CNN Money. Retrieved from
Rusli, E. (2013, September 8). Instagram Pictures Itself Making Money. The Wall St Journal. Retrieved from
Smithers, R. (2011, May 11). Terms and conditions: not reading the small print can mean big problems. The Guardian. Retrieved
Background image used throughout:
1964Log. (2013). instagram_SS [Image]. Retrieved from http://1964log.blogspot.com.au/
The Instagram logo is trademarked and has been used to represent the service being discussed in this presentation. Instagram or
its affiliated company Facebook does not endorse or support this content.
All content used in this presentation remains the property of the owner – all sources have been referenced above.
Created by Laura Capel for NET303 – Internet Politics and Power (Curtin University).
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