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Pinterest Policy Primer

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Pinterest Policy Primer

  1. 1. Understanding the new Pinterest Terms of Service Policy Primer
  2. 2. What is Pinterest?  A visual bookmarking tool for saving and discovering creative ideas  They call it: The world’s catalogue of ideas
  3. 3. Updating Terms and Privacy Policy  More than half of Pinterest users are outside the United States (October 2016)  Pinterest users (aka Pinners) were sent an email stating if they live outside the USA, their “products and services will be provided by Pinterest Europe Limited, an Irish company based in Dublin.”  The email has preview links to the new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.  And “If you keep using Pinterest after 1 November 2016, you’re letting us know that you’re okay with the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and that you’ve read and agreed to both.” That’s implied acceptance.
  4. 4. How many Pinners ever read the email? The TOS? The Privacy Policy?  150 million users on Pinterest each month. Population of Russia is 146 million, and Mexico 128 million. 80 million Pinners live outside the USA.  The email open rate benchmark sits at 21.69% for social networks and online communities. If the email went to all outside the USA, just over 17 million opened the email.  Email link click benchmark is 3.44%, meaning under 3 million Pinners (less than 2% of the total community) might have reached the TOS or Privacy Policy web pages.  A study revealed that only 7% of people bothered to “read the online terms and conditions when signing up for products and services”.
  5. 5. An attrition of informed Pinners! What on Earth did we agree to? Did we agree?
  6. 6. Why we don’t read TOS & Privacy Policy  They are lengthy, often in small font size, and laden with legal jargon and “dry, impenetrable prose” that are near impossible to comprehend.  The current Pinterest Privacy Policy (effective 27 December 2015):  2,170 words with a readability grade of 11; and 71 of 119 sentences rated hard to very hard to read. Despite that “Pinterest is not aimed at children under 13”, it is difficult to imagine teens attempting to comprehend it!  Nonetheless, we agree to these legally-binding contracts everyday. Right?
  7. 7. Accepting the TOS & Privacy Policy Implicit acceptance, low contrast, minimal affordance Explicit acceptance, decent contrast, clear links
  8. 8. But there’s good news for Pinners At least for those who read the TOS & Privacy Policy after 1st November 2016
  9. 9. Terms of Service Now also in layman's terms
  10. 10. Legalese alongside plain language
  11. 11. And some less-good news
  12. 12. The legalese is a loose match You will need to read both sides to fully comprehend the contract.
  13. 13. Children are not allowed Legalese  Any use or access by anyone under the age of 13 is prohibited. Simply put  You can use Pinterest unless you're under 13. Become a teenager and suddenly the world’s catalogue of ideas is yours!
  14. 14. You might see bad content The TOS warns you could see porn or spam
  15. 15. Porn and spam are banned The legal jargon made no comprehendible mention of banned content. It is clear from the plain language side that porn and spam are forbidden. You can report objectionable or inappropriate content and they decide what is and what isn’t porn and spam before a take down. You agree that you risk stumbling upon “bad stuff on user-generated content sites like Pinterest”.
  16. 16. Help describes more bad content Help > Safety and standard is where the bad content policies are: Copyright FAQ, Graphic violence, Harassment and cyberbullying, Hate speech, Impersonation, Nudity, Pinterest Terms of Service, Spam on Pinterest, Suicide and self-harm.
  17. 17. Posting your content Pinterest allows you to post content including photos, comments, links and other materials.
  18. 18. Content ownership & responsibility = yours  If you post your content on Pinterest, it belongs to you, but this ownership is only valuable to you for your own purposes. Also, you alone are liable.  Both Pinterest and other Pinners can do whatever they like with your posts. You don’t have to be asked for permission, paid, or contacted. Anyone can copy and change copies of your content. It’s an open slather remix haven.
  19. 19. Removing your content  We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content for any reason…  Pinterest will take down or change your content if they want to.  There’s no mention of giving you a heads-up about it.
  20. 20. Keeping your content after deletion  When you delete your content from Pinterest, you won’t be able to see it on your boards.  Copies of your content can remain scattered throughout the community as long as … well, possibly forever.
  21. 21. Your feed is good… too good Follow 5 boards to fill your feed with pins you love.
  22. 22. Self curation becomes your filter bubble  As you follow boards and browse the web, both you and Pinterest are tailoring the service to your personal tastes. It’s easy to trap ourselves in a "filter bubble" and miss out on exposure to ideas that could challenge or broaden our worldview. We end up seeing a very unbalanced subset of impulsive ideas in our feed.  For instance, after visiting websites selling camping equipment, you’re likely to see Pins related to the outdoors and hiking gear.
  23. 23. Copyright Policy on Pinterest Pinterest acts “in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable copyright laws.”
  24. 24. Respect copyright  A separate Copyright Policy describes: expectations of users to respect intellectual property; that Pinterest will disable or terminate accounts of infringers; and that Pinterest will respond expeditiously to claims of copyright infringement.  This page provides methods for filing a copyright complaint, and describes what to do if you receive a complaint.  The plain language version insists that you respect copyright but does nothing to explain how to do that.  We cannot assume saving Pins counts as a remix rather than a breach of copyright, but ambiguity persists, particularly as the default behaviour is to save a Pin as verbatim.
  25. 25. Suing Pinterest over repeat infringement  Photographer Christopher Boffoli has claimed copyright infringements in effort to have over 5,000 posts of his photos used without either permission or attribution.  Pinterest has failed to “completely remove his content”, “offered Boffoli a settlement”, but he’s persisting with the lawsuit to fight for artists rights.
  26. 26. Prevent pinning from your site Meta tag in the <head> <meta name = "pinterest" content = "nopin" description = "Sorry, you can't save from my website!" /> Specific “nopin” images <img src = "foo.jpg" nopin = "nopin" />
  27. 27. Copyright FAQ More helpful for self regulating than the Copyright Policy
  28. 28. “ ” don't pin something without linking to where you discovered it Rules to Pin By (2010) Attribute to your source
  29. 29. To pin, or not to pin? Safe to pin  Your own content  From sites bearing a Pinterest sharing button  Public domain and Creative Commons licenced works, attributing as necessary.  Pins “Uploaded by user” if you are certain the uploader is the owner. Caveats  Assume you do not have permission to pin content or repin unless evidence suggests otherwise.  When unsure, ask for permission to use the content.  Do not pin bad content.
  30. 30. I hope this has been a useful introduction to Pinterest’s new Terms of Service. Happy pinning!
  31. 31. References Bacon, C. (2016, April 30). Pinterest and Copyright: How to Use Pinterest Legally. Retrieved 26 October 2016, from Hern, A. (2015, June 15). I read all the small print on the internet and it made me want to die. The Guardian. Retrieved from print-on-the-internet Hulick, S. (2014a, April). How Pinterest Onboards New Users. Retrieved 21 October 2016, from Hulick, S. (2014b, April). How Pinterest Onboards New Users. Retrieved 21 October 2016, from Lessig, L. (2007). Laws that choke creativity. Retrieved from List of countries and dependencies by population. (2016, October 20). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from 745379070
  32. 32. References MailChimp. (2016, October 3). Email Marketing Benchmarks. Retrieved 20 October 2016, from Michael Archambault. (2015, May 27). Photographer Suing Pinterest in Federal Court Over Repeated Copyright Infringement. Retrieved from pinterest-in-federal-court-over-repeated-copyright-infringement/ Pariser, E. (n.d.). Beware online ‘filter bubbles’. Retrieved from Pinterest. (2014). English: Pinterest logo. Retrieved from Pinterest. (2015, December 27). Privacy Policy. Retrieved 21 October 2016, from Pinterest. (2016). Terms of Service (Effective 1 November 2016). Retrieved 21 October 2016, from
  33. 33. References Pinterest. (n.d.-a). Copyright. Retrieved 21 October 2016, from Pinterest. (n.d.-b). Copyright FAQ. Retrieved 23 October 2016, from Pinterest. (n.d.-c). Personalization and data. Retrieved 21 October 2016, from Pinterest. (n.d.-d). Prevent people from saving things to Pinterest from your site. Retrieved 26 October 2016, from Pinterest. (n.d.-e). Privacy Policy (Effective November 1, 2016). Retrieved 26 October 2016, from Pinterest. (n.d.-f). Safety and standards. Retrieved 26 October 2016, from
  34. 34. References Pinterest. (n.d.-g). What’s Pinterest? Retrieved 26 October 2016, from gb Silbermann, B. (2016, October 13). 150 million people finding ideas on Pinterest. Retrieved from Smithers, R., & correspondent, consumer affairs. (2011, May 11). Terms and conditions: not reading the small print can mean big problems. The Guardian. Retrieved from Terms. (2010, December 6). Retrieved 23 October 2016, from Trello. (n.d.). Create a Trello Account. Retrieved 26 October 2016, from

Editor's Notes

  • Imagine walking into your brand of supermarket (Coles, Woolworths, ALDI) and the staff saying “We work for a different company.”