Don’t Ignore Terms & Conditions
Let’s face it, here at NMC we’re invested in social media—for our clients and for our own agency. It’s an important facet in engaging with our customers, business partners, prospects, members of the community, and other friends.
When we see value in jumping on board a quickly growing social media network we have not yet made a presence on, it’s imperative we not only review the terms and conditions when creating an account, but monitor them on an ongoing basis, as well.
Truth be told, the original plan for today’s Wednesday Witty Wisdom was a feature about the emerging value of Instagram and how to use it creatively for businesses and organizations. That was until the photo sharing network announced a major change in their terms and conditions as of January 16, 2013, that would allow the company to put users’ photos into ads and sublicense them to third parties. Yikes!
The upcoming change has caused quite a controversy, causing even well-respected and internationally recognized companies like National Geographic to turn off their account. Other companies and individuals alike have questioned their activity and involvement on the platform moving into the new year.
In order to be proactive and keep our company and our client’s photos safe, we’ve decided to hold off on testing an NMC Instagram account and halt all activity for one of our clients that has already allowed us to dabble in the network.
Instagram has issued a post in an attempt to salvage their reputation and clarify their terms. With 100 million registered users, there is little doubt the new terms and conditions will need to be revised in the very near future.
Many of you will remember it wasn’t very long ago that individuals, and businesses and organizations especially, took a closer peak at Pinterest’s terms of service, alerting users to strict copyright concerns with using others’ photography. It certainly freaked out a lot of Pinterest fanatics, but businesses adapted by simply using their own photography or receiving permission from others, while still generating significant traffic to their websites.
The escalating Instagram controversy is a powerful reminder for businesses and organizations to be mindful of terms and conditions on the social media networks they participate in. It’s important to keep our eyes and ears open and ourselves educated to protect assets like photography and ensure we are properly complying with terms and conditions.
Keep in mind terms and conditions can change quickly, and may change frequently. Also, this reminder doesn’t only apply to social networks—read terms closely on all written contracts, too.
In time, we hope the Instagram controversy smooths over the way Pinterest’s scare did, so we can get back to snapping pictures of intricate frost patterns on our windshields, our beautifully plated Italian dinner, or our furry friends doing something amusing, applying one of the filters, and creating a one-of-the-kind shot to share.