An Important Update Regarding My Presence on Facebook & Instagram

An Important Update Regarding My Presence on Facebook & Instagram

Read Time:4 Minutes, 28 Seconds

Mere minutes ago, I was made aware of upcoming changes to the Data Policy that will be going into effect on the Facebook & Instagram services on December 20th. While I don’t usually read these types of policies (even though I should), the way in which I was made aware is that it was a big deal (albeit without context.)So, in my curiosity, I went into the Instagram app and read the entirety of the Data Policy that will be going into effect. Most of what Instagram has laid forth I was okay with. Big companies like Facebook set forth things like Terms of Use, Privacy Policies, and other policies of that nature to inform its user base of potential points of conflict and protect its corporation from any legal disputes. That’s normal.What isnt normal are the following (which is quoted right from Instagram itself):

  • You cant use a domain name or URL in your username without our prior written consent.
  • We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it. Nothing is changing about your rights in your content. We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service and you are free to share your content with anyone else, wherever you want. However, we need certain legal permissions from you (known as a “license”) to provide the Service. When you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly form or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). This license will end when your content is deleted from our systems. You can delete content individually or all at once by deleting your account. To learn more about how we use information, and how to control or delete your content, review the Data Policy and visit the Instagram Help Center.”
  • Permission to use your username, profile picture, and information about your relationships and actions with accounts, ads, and sponsored content. You give us permission to show your username, profile picture, and information about your actions (such as likes) or relationships (such as follows) next to or in connection with accounts, ads, offers, and other sponsored content that you follow or engage with that are displayed on Facebook Products, without any compensation to you. For example, we may show that you liked a sponsored post created by a brand that has paid us to display its ads on Instagram. As with actions on other content and follows of other accounts, actions on sponsored content and follows of sponsored accounts can be seen only by people who have permission to see that content or follow. We will also respect your ad settings. You can learn more here about your ad settings.”
  • “If you select a username or similar identifier for your account, we may change it if we believe it is appropriate or necessary (for example, if it infringes someone’s intellectual property or impersonates another user).”

I don’t claim to know much (or any) legalese, but to my understanding, what this means is that Instagram (and by extension of owning the platform and maintaining it, Facebook, Inc.) is exerting (or starting to exert) control over the content users post on the platforms they own to the extent that Facebook, Inc. will, once the policy takes effect on December 20th, the company will be able to modify any of the content you post, interact with, whether or not you can add your website to your profile, will use your content as the company pleases, and will modify your account on their platforms however they see fit.That may be seen as an oversimplification of the upcoming changes in the company’s Terms. Still, from how I read it, the level of control Facebook is exerting over the content shared and interacted with on their platforms absolutely frightens me. I don’t think any one corporation should have any license to my content without an avenue to legally contest anything they do with my user data or content.So, to retain access to the content I post on my website or anywhere else, I will begin not only further watermarking content I have any hand in creating starting on December 20th, as well as furthering my copyright status from a symbol on my website to registering with the U.S. Copyright Office and all other applicable copyright offices to protect any content I have made or will make in the future. Additionally, I will be de-prioritizing content published to Facebook and Instagram, making my content only available on my site, Twitter, and Patreon. Should these portions of the Terms be purged from Facebook and Instagram, I will be resuming content to these platforms. Should any representative from Facebook and Instagram open a channel of communication with me regarding these Terms, I will be open to providing as much or any feedback that I can. Also, should Twitter or any other platform holder I post content on adopt similar Terms, I will also pause content created on those platforms.

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