Instagram’s Terms of Service Rewritten So You Can Understand

In this internet age, it is not uncommon to come across a wall of text known as terms of use or terms of service prior to signing up for an account on a website, game, or basically anywhere really. The practice is such commonplace that most of us, the true vast majority, don’t even take the time to read these documents anymore. Despite our collective ‘whatever’ attitude towards this piece of the signup process, it is actually a really important document and one that should be understood before accepting it.

A lawyer in the UK recently rewrote Instagram’s ToS with children in mind. That is, it was rewritten so that children could understand it very plainly. It is actually quite interesting to read, seeing what you have actually given Instagram (and by extension Facebook) permission to do with the images that you have uploaded to the social network.

You can find the full rewritten document here (Instagram bit starts on page 10), but just for example’s sake, here are a few of the notable passages:

  • Officially you own any original pictures and videos you post, but we are allowed to use them, and we can let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that.

  • We may keep, use and share your personal information with companies connected with Instagram. This information includes your name, email address, school, where you live, pictures, phone number, your likes and dislikes, where you go, who your friends are, how often you use Instagram and any other personal information we find such as your birthday or who you are chatting with, including in private messages (DMs).

  • We can, but do not have to, remove, edit, block and/or monitor anything posted or any accounts that we think breaks any of these rules. We are not responsible if somebody breaks the law or breaks these rules; but if you break them, you are responsible.

After reading the document some of you may find yourself wondering if you should continue using the service. That is a question only each of you can answer on your own, but it should be clear that most ToS documents have similar language, especially in the social media arena. So you will likely either be removing yourself from social media entirely or be continuing to use with the knowledge that certain rights are being given up.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.