Who really owns your social media postings?

More often than not, people sign up for social media accounts without reading the particular platform’s terms of service. As a result, they are usually completely unaware of the conditions of use or the rights they have signed away.

Do you really know who owns your Facebook account or your Instagram profile picture?  If not, you may be surprised to discover the reality as we break down the terms that you have agreed to on various social media platforms.

The terms of service of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are all quite clear: they stipulate that all users retain ownership of any and all content posted on the respective platforms.

So far so good, right? But, there’s a catch: all users of these social media platforms have, usually unknowingly, granted a non-exclusive, transferable and worldwide license to use any content on the platform without any further consent, notice or compensation.

Social media platforms, therefore, can use content owned by individual users to market their business and service.

It doesn’t end there. In the words of Twitter, “This license [sic.] authorizes Twitter to make your content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same”. This isn’t just sharing posts. The social media giant may sublicense a user’s profile picture or any other content uploaded by said user without that user’s knowledge or further consent.

All LinkedIn and Twitter users have also granted the platforms editing rights, namely, the right to edit, modify, translate and reformat any content posted on the platform. Given the nature of the LinkedIn platform, for example, this could negatively impact recruitment, marketing and networking opportunities.

It is essential that users understand that they have granted each platform full editing rights over any content published by them (including re-posts of other user’s content) whether in their professional capacity or otherwise.

We cannot imagine a world without social media, but perhaps the next time you blindly click “accept” on the terms and conditions box for a new account, you’ll pay closer attention to the fine print and think carefully about some of the content you share.

Adapted from an article by ITonline.com.ca | Image: Pixabay

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