Terms of service. Unless you’re a masochist or a lawyer (but I repeat myself), you’ve probably never read them. Most of us impatiently click “accept” on our way to signing up for whatever it is we want to divulge our personal information to want to use.

In the case of photo-oriented services like Instagram, accepting terms of service is a bit like entering into a business relationship. If you don’t accurately understand the terms, you could be disadvantaged.

In a report for the UK Children’s Commissioner, Jenny Afia, a privacy law expert at the UK law firm Schillings, rewrote Instagram’s terms of service so that a child (well, a teenager) could understand them.

Those terms, rewritten by Afia, include:

  • 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 might send you adverts connected to your interests which we are monitoring. You cannot stop us doing this and it will not always be obvious that it is an advert.
  • We can change or end Instagram, or stop you accessing Instagram at any time, for any reason and without letting you know in advance. We can also delete posts and other content randomly, without telling you, for any reason. If we do this, we will not be responsible for paying out any money and you won’t have any right to complain.
  • We can force you to give up your username for any reason.
  • 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.

You can get the whole thing on page 10 of the report.

Instagram is so deeply entrenched in the photo industry that it’s wildly unlikely that people will be scared off by these (or any) legal terms. Still, it’s good to know what you’re signing up for.

Hat tip: Quartz


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