I feel like they pulled the rug out from underneath all of their users. There’s no way to opt out of this new wrinkle other than deleting your account. If you do so before Jan. 16, your images are safe from the new terms. While they say they don’t own user uploaded content, users “hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.”
It used to be that advertisers would have to ask explicit permission to use content, that is no longer the case. Your face or images could end up on a billboard or on a Facebook ad. You have no control over that and will receive no compensation or credit.
Did I mention that minors are not exempt?!? By signing up to use the service, they are acknowledging that a parent has agreed to let them use Instagram and that their content may be used for advertising purposes. Because you know that teens ask their parents before downloading and using an app. Secondly, I will bet that neither teens nor parents will really understand the impact of this change.
I want to know why they can change their rules mid stream? I will hear back from lawyer friend later today but I know she’s not going to have anything to say that will make me happy.
My view is that everything you say, do, and post is public information. But I really don’t like the games they are playing with people that don’t understand their legal rights and when they are being ruthlessly taken away. I’ve never been a privacy advocate but this one takes the cake. The fact that minors are being taken advantage of is the part that really gets me worked up.
If you want to be exempt from this, delete your account. If you keep it, know that pictures of you or your children are fair game.
So shortly after I wrote this blog, Instagram backpedaled.
“Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”
When I spoke to a lawyer about it, I expressed that what I think is a major concern for users is that while it is a public platform, no one wants to feel like a product. Offering your content for free is one thing but if Instagram were to try to make a profit off of their user’s images, it would upset many of them. This is what I think Instragram feels the need to clear up.
Recently several people have asked me about Spokeo, an aggregate website that lists personal information already available on the web, yet I hadn’t seen it for myself until the last report I worked up. When I encountered it while doing a reputation management report for a client (online brand and personal name search, findings, and includes how to build up great brand content or eliminate that which is incorrect or undesirable), I dropped what I was doing, applied this to myself to learn how it worked, and how to teach you to remove your information.
Navigate to www.spokeo.com and enter your name. You may find that you have several listings. This information comes from public records such as utility bills, phone listings, and more. Investigate each listing that may possibly be you. You will see information such as gender, age, phone number, street address, and a photo of your neighborhood. In order to see the full results, they will charge you. Don’t pay! You can simply remove yourself. (You can read more about privacy rights on the web at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse or about the $80,000 fine levied against Spokeo by the FTC.)
- Copy the listing URL out of the address bar and then navigate to www.spokeo.com/privacy
- Scroll down until you see “Removing Your Listing from Spokeo”
- Paste the URL into the Profile URL box and in the next box put an email address where you’ll be receiving a confirmation link
- Enter in the Captcha phrase and Remove This Listing
- You should receive an email almost instantly that has a link saying “To complete the removal process, please click here.” It works instantly.
- Now keep looking yourself up and repeating this process until they are all eliminated.* I did it for myself and got rid of three listings in less than 5 minutes. Now do it for your spouse and kids.
*When I repeated this process to make sure I got all my steps right for my blog, I used my husband’s information. Spokeo only allowed me to do 2 before it throttled me by saying “In order to prevent abuse, we must limit the frequency of automated privacy requests.” Don’t let them stop you! Go back in an hour or tomorrow but eliminate all information that you can! Yes you can pay an outside service to do this for you but it’s much more expensive and time consuming than you’d like to believe.
Other services with a similar information and process:
- ZoomInfo to opt out use www.ZoomInfo.com/privacy
- 411.info, to opt out use www.411.info/privacy
- White Pages, to opt out use http://www.whitepagescustomers.com/get-help-with-a-personal-listing/
Other aggregator sites like Spokeo:
Now Available – “What You Don’t Know About Social Media CAN Hurt You: Take Control of Your Online Reputation” at http://bit.ly/KRCbook
Google has managed to kill their best product with a variety of changes they’ve made within the last few weeks. They introduced Google Search + Your World, a tool that when you use their search engine, you have the option of seeing what your friends have shared on the subject. Then they began pushing Google+ posts into their search results at the sacrifice of actually relevant search results. Watch this video by Focus on the User that explains how this compromises the tool and demonstrates a Firefox extension called Don’t Be Evil (developed by Facebook and Twitter engineers) that allows you to override what Google is doing. Then they rewrote all of their privacy policies into one and upped their tracking of users across multiple websites creating a what they call an improvement of service with no way to opt out.
They were already under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation for their monopolistic business practices. When they released Google Search + Your World in mid January 2012, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with the FTC and Google+ was added to the investigation.
Even though they only have 65% of market share on search according to Bloomberg, the phrase “violation of anti-trust legislation” is being used continuously. They aren’t technically violating anti trust laws with 65% but that’s not where they will lose the war. They are going to lose on user loyalty. The number two search engine, Bing by Microsoft, only has 14% market share but when users fully comprehend how much their privacy is being completely thrown away, I believe they will run to the next best competitor in droves. Maybe their hold will only change a few percentage points but the damage has been done. Privacy is rarely my largest concern but the magnitude of your personal shared information being rebroadcast in such a public way, has even me ready to reassign my default browser to the company that shall not be named. That’s how I felt when I talked about the company that brought us Windows. They had a shade of Voldemort for me but now I feel the evil has shifted.
I’ve had several upset people ask how jump ship so here are step by step instructions on how to delete your Google+ profile.
What is your biggest concern about Google’s changes? Or do you even care?
[Image via Stock.xchng]
Google has really messed up their number one product, Google Search. Many people are upset over their loss of privacy and their ability to have some control over their content. I’ve had several people ask me during my social media and technology training sessions how they can delete their Google+ profiles. If this is something you’d like to do, here are instructions on how to just delete your Google+ profile and not your whole Google account.
- Log into Google
- Click on your name in the upper right hand corner
- Select Account Settings
- In the Account Overview tab, look for the section Services
- Select Delete Profile and Remove Associated Google+ features
- On the next page, select the Required checkbox at the bottom then click Remove Selected Services (This I am not able to test to confirm because I don’t want to click on it until I’m ready. I am assuming there is some kind of confirmation on the next page. Use common sense and read the instructions.)
Let me know if you try this (in the comments) if they change how it’s done and I’ll update.