The increasing presence of social media websites has resulted to an increase in the number of issues especially privacy issues. Some social media sites in their terms of services agreement indicate that for one to share another person photo permission has to be sought from the individual in the photo. The terms of services are both important for the user and the website owners. For the website owner, the reason is mainly for legal situations where they want to avoid lawsuits. For the site user, the terms of services are important as it provides them with information that they can use to know what the risk of using the website is. For instance, issues of content may become important. A social media site may indicate that any content shared in their website becomes theirs. If the user does not read such information in the agreement, he or she may end up losing rights to original content that they have shared on the social network site.
Summary of TOS
Prior to the use of the Instagram website, it is obligatory for the user to read, comprehend and be in agreement with the terms and condition of use. These terms are legally binding and obligatory in nature. The basic terms describe the minimum age limit for one to be allowed to use the website as thirteen years old. It also lays out rule on the content of the pictures that may be posted by any user of the service. It clearly prohibits the sharing of violent, pornographic or otherwise immoral photographs. The basic terms also prohibit any form of cyber bullying while making the user aware that he is solely responsible for the security of his account and the content that he shares.
General conditions allow users to deactivate their account at any time that they see fit. They also reserve certain rights to the owners of the service such as updating the terms, charges conferred, and forcing users to forfeit certain usernames.
Rights provide Instagram with power to use the website based on how they see fit. Certain rights such as being a member allow Instagram to provide third parties with members’ content without their consent are an example of such power. Under reporting copyright and other IP violations, Instagram allows individuals the right to report any violation and may provide tools to protect a person’s intellectual property. Additionally, under this section it states that infringing on another person’s intellectual property may result to deactivation of the account. The disclaimer of warranties indicates Instagram acknowledges that anyone using their service represents and warrants that the activities are lawful, and Instagram does not endorse any content. In case of any damages of any kind, Instagram, does not bear any liability.
Ethical issues that arise from the TOS for Instagram
Discussion of how you feel about using this medium after fully reading and thinking about the TOS
Actions of Instagram indicate that social media sites have the ability to change terms without the consent or informing users. Additionally, the wording of such agreements is normally done in such a way that a normal user may find it hard to understand what exactly the agreement implies. Thus, if I were to use Instagram, I would ensure that the photos I share do not provide them with the content they require to sell to other third party users. Moreover, it would be prudent to stop using this service until they seek to correct such privacy issues.
Discussion about how you think you would feel about other social mediums you use if you dedicated similar time and focus reading the TOS
Paying close attention to terms of service for other social media websites may provide intricate details that most users ignore. For instance, in sharing of information or inventive ideas, a person may lose the right to use such information for profit once corporations or other third party users get hold of such information.
Privacy is still a big issue in social media websites. Cases where the social media owners such as Instagram intend to profit from using members content without their consent goes against different ethical models. Further, it is very clear that social media websites may take advantage of the users’ lack of understanding to their advantage. Such drastic changes that affect the privacy of the user first needs to be given inform of a notice. Additionally, Instagram can result in developing different membership access where both the member and Instagram can benefit from the sharing or sale of content to third party individuals.
Albarran, Alan. Management of Electronic and Digital Media. 5. Reprint. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Bercovici, Jeff. "The Great Instagram Freakout And Why You Should Ignore It." Forbes.Com (2012): 35. Business Source Complete. Web. 7 May 2014.