Everyday, without fail, I check Facebook and Instagram. I repeat this process any spare moment I have, purely out of habit. I’m never really interested in what I’m looking at but it has become such a part of my daily routine, I’d be lost without it.
Whenever any of these platforms ask me to agree to their ‘terms and conditions’ I do so without a second thought. My initial reaction to the fine print is, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” I click the accept button and off I go, completely unaware of who is in control.
Recent attention has been brought to Instagram, who is currently involved in a lawsuit about who owns what you post. Co-founder Kevin Systrom reassured users by stating; “We don’t own your photos — you do”. However, just because you own something doesn’t necessarily mean you control it. Instagram’s latest intellectual property policy allows Facebook the right to license all Instagram photos. In other words, Facebook can sell the photos you posted on Instagram from a recent holiday, to ANY company who can then use the images as they please. So yes, we may own our photos originally, but we cannot control where they go once they are posted into cyberspace, a consequence many are willing to sacrifice to ‘stay connected’.
Essentially, people are handing over their rights of control to others the moment they sign up to Facebook andInstagram. Most of us
presume that Mark Zuckerberg has our best interest at heart but does he? Of course we would be naive to think the success of his company is not his foremost concern. It is reasonable that we may disagree with the control such companies have over our personal content, but do we act on this? We have the ability to opt out and delete our accounts. However, our reliability on social media and its dramatic influence in our lives, results in most of us not choosing this option.