Thursday 18 January 2018

Oliver Smith: Facebook’s terms and conditions mean you don't really own your online life

WHEN joining a social network, you are likely to spend more time considering which photo you will use on your profile than reading the lengthy terms of service document. And yet, off-putting though Facebook's 14,000-word terms of service and data use policy might be, it is a legal contract between you and the social network. Do you know what you've signed up for?

Last month, users of Instagram reacted with anger at proposed changes to the company's terms that would give the mobile photo-sharing app the right to use member's photos in advertising campaigns.

In some ways, the change was a positive step. It eschewed traditional legal language, instead using clear terminology to precisely explain what the company would and would not do with its members' content. But that clarity made obvious the lengths to which the company might go in order to monetise the free service. Even after Instagram had reversed its decision, removing the controversial elements from their new terms of service, some users still closed their accounts in protest.

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