Instagram Policy Primer NET 303


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Policy primer discussing the Instagram terms of service and issues associated with agreeing to these.

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  • I have yet to download and install the Instagram application on my mobile device which attracted me to your online policy primer before reading through their terms of service agreement.
    Your slides used casual everyday language which was great however some of the slides had too many lines of words which can easily distract and lose your audience attention. The presentation felt compacted into 19 slides when you can have relaxed it using extra slides to ease the amount of information on each slides.
    The slide 13 which talks about how Instagram collects user’s personal information such as cookies, log files, device info, location and usage data particularly interested me. It interested me as my policy primer on YouTube also touched on the topic of Google collecting similar personal information like Instagram.
    Accepting and allowing service providers to collect and use our personal information is the price we pay to use the online social services. Google for example will collect and anonymise user’s IP address after nine months and cookies in search logs after 18months for Google Chrome users. Another words, until this period ends, your personal details will be uniquely identified and used for Google’s marketing and commercial purposes (Channel 4, 2012). What is even more interesting is the fact that these companies have determined what is the right balance of time for the public (for example 9 months and 18 months of anonymity by google) when it comes to the privacy concerns (Channel 4, 2012). Anonymity of your name is no longer the silver bullet to protect you and your identity in the cyberspace. According Barbaro & Zeller Jr, just by collecting your personal search engine phrases over the course of three months will reveal much of your personal life, your interest and private identity. Compiling and storing such private data by the internet giants such as Google, Yahoo and AOL, Marc Rotenberg executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center called this as a “a ticking privacy time bomb” (Barbaro and Zeller Jr, 2006).
    Overall, your policy primer provided wealth of information to make me much well aware of what I will need to accept before using the Instagram service. Thank you.


    Barbaro, M., & Zeller, T. (2006, August 9th). A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749.
    New York Times.
    Retrieved from:

    Investipedia. (2012, November 22nd) How Does Google Make Its Money?
    Retrieved from:
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  • There appears to be a trend among user-generated content platforms that put the entire responsibility of content posted on the user. It’s a very abrupt way of saying they are not liable for the actions of their users which is their barrier to potential lawsuits. I don’t wholly agree with this right. Although users should take ownership for their actions, this does not do anything to deter instances that can be highly detrimental to its users. For example, Patchin & Hinduja (2006) reported that 30% of adolescents studied had been a victim of online bullying. As the provider of such risks, they should be doing more to moderate offensive content. Instagram and other content-driven platforms retain the right to remove items, and if necessary users, for wrongful posts. However, judging by the above statistics it is not really a sufficient way of policing the actions of users online. The reliance on its user-base to moderate and inform them of infringements of their policies has the potential to be flawed, particularly when Instagram claims they have no obligation to become involved in disputes between users.

    Another thing I have noticed which seems consistent amongst online platforms is that the terms and conditions are subject to change, and you pointed out that by accepting the terms and conditions it means users consequently accept any changes that might occur in the future. Because platforms like Instagram’s main purpose is to connect people it means the responsibility of privacy protection often falls on the user (Goettke & Christiana, 2007). Some platforms make it easier for users to track changes than others. For example, Facebook has a governance page which individuals can ‘follow’ to keep up to date on possible changes and allow users a timeframe to participate in decision making. Being more open about these changes and allowing public participation increases feelings of trust with its users by increasing interaction with what is a relatively large, faceless organisation (Zittrain, 2008).
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Instagram Policy Primer NET 303

  1. 1. Image uploaded to Flickr by: jon@th@nC, 2013. Instagram #policyprimer #isabellaviney
  2. 2. image uploaded to flickr by: BeanedSprout, 2013 So you post photos to your Instagram account... No big deal right…?
  3. 3. Sure, no big deal for that minority of you who read the terms of service before signing up for an instagram account. As you would know exactly what terms you are subject to. image uploaded to flickr by: .reid. 2008.
  4. 4. but for those of you who just click ‘I agree’, let me fill you in on the very important information listed in that small, significant link to the terms of service image: screenshot Instagram home page
  5. 5. TO GIVE YOU A BASIC IDEA You agree to not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos. YOU AGREE THAT You are responsible for any activity that occurs through your account and you agree you will not sell, transfer, license or assign your account, followers, username, or any account rights. You agree that you will not defame, stalk, bully, abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate people or entities and you must not post private or confidential information via the Service You agree that you are solely responsible for your conduct and any data, text, files, information, usernames, images, graphics, photos, profiles, audio and video clips, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, links and other content or materials (collectively, "Content") that you submit, post or display on or via the Service. (instagram, 2013a)
  6. 6. that doesn’t seem too unreasonable... image uploaded to flickr by: kelly. sitemma, 2012 let’s dig a little deeper...
  7. 7. the general conditions (or what instagram can do) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. instagram can modify or terminate your service at any time, in which case all your previous rights automatically cease. instagram can change the terms of service at any time, in which they may post these changes to the service.. your use of the service after the change, constitutes your agreement to the changes. instagram reserves the right to forfeit your username at any time. instagram reserves the right to refuse access to the service instagram accepts no responsibility for data service charges from using the service. (Instagram, 2013a)
  8. 8. so if something goes a little wrong, does instagram have your back…? image uploaded to flickr by: monsieurlam, 2007
  9. 9. ● ● ● unlucky... “ you are solely responsible for your interaction with other users, both online and offline. you agree that Instagram is not responsible for the behaviour of other users. Instagram is not responsible or liable for the conduct of any user. Instagram reserves the right, but has no obligation, to monitor or become involved in disputes between you and other users. (instagram, 2013a) “ image uploaded to flickr by: ill fortune 2006
  10. 10. starting to see the importance of reading what you are agreeing to? photo uploaded to Flickr by: valerie everett, 2006 let’s go a step further (yes, there is more!)
  11. 11. the rights (of Instagram) Instagram does not claim ownership of your content, and states that content posted is owned by the user. this is good, right? not exactly. the rights of instagram then go on to state that “you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service” although at first glance, it seems as if the user has full control over their content, this is not the case. Instagram can use the content you post without your consent. (instagram, 2013a)
  12. 12. let’s talk about privacy... photo uploaded to flickr by: G4ll4is, 2013
  13. 13. Instagram collects your cookie information, log files, device identifiers, location and usage data to gain insight on how you use their service. Instagram then uses this information to give to advertisers and third parties to target specific advertising of products and services to you. (Instagram, 2013b) photo uploaded to Flickr by: MagicTheme 2013
  14. 14. so what if you delete your instagram account? while your content will not remain in the public eye, instagram itself will still retain copies of this content. photo uploaded to Flickr by: NS Newsflash, 2011 everything you ever post to the internet will always be stored somewhere. moral of the story? so don’t post anything to the internet you wouldn’t want published to the front page of the newspaper. (instagram, 2013b)
  15. 15. feeling like you should have read the terms of service before signing up to instagram? it’s ok, a british study has shown that a staggering 93% of users don’t actually read the terms of service before agreeing (smithers, 2011) next time you are invited to ‘accept the terms and conditions’, have a read to see exactly what you are signing up to.
  16. 16. this policy primer is a university assignment for the unit net303 offered through curtin university. all sources and images have been referenced where appropriate.
  17. 17. reference list BeanedSprout. (2013) Untitled [Image]. Retrieved from g4ll4is. (2013) Privacy [Image]. Retrieve from Instagram Terms of Use (2013a). Retrieved from Instagram Privacy Policy (2013b). Retrieved from Jon@th@nC. (2013) Instagram [Image]. Retrieved from
  18. 18. kelly.sikkema. (2012) Shovel [Image]. Retrieved from MagicTheme. (2013) instagram cookie [Image]. Retrieved from monsieurlam. (2007) divide:scared to death [Image]. Retrieved from NS Newsflash. (2011) Newspapers B&W (4) [Image}. Retrieved from .reid.. (2008) thumbs up [Image]. Retrieved from
  19. 19. tim ellis. (2006) Unlucky 13 [Image]. Retrieved from Valerie Everett (2006) Whats Important? [Image]. Retrieved from