So What Happens to Social Media Data? Read the Terms of Service!

unnamedI am preparing to make a presentation to a group of well-informed teens at a school. In the process, I’ve reread the terms of service at a range of social media sites to remind myself about what can potentially happen to the pictures, comments, videos, and other content that we share on social media.

Social media is a part of life in today’s 21st Century world. Rather than wringing our hands about these apps, and the things that can go wrong, it’s a far better strategy for adults to proactively learn about social media, know what their digital children are using, and help them understand the power of social media apps. Moreover, every social media user — young and old — needs to develop strategies to use when things have the potential to go wrong.

Check out the terms of service for your favorite social media site. What do you think these policies mean for the pre-adolescents or teens in your life? The social media companies design these statements — albeit long documents — to make it clear what happens and what does not. What can you do to ensure that your child develops the necessary tools and strategies to think carefully about what content to post and share and what content to avoid sharing? Ongoing conversations about living in the digital world are are a critical part of family life.

Each of the clips is from one of the social media websites, and I’ve added a link to each site’s complete  terms of service document.  Most of the companies want us to understand these documents.

Facebook Terms of Service —  Excerpt: You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Instagram Terms of ServiceExcerpt: By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

Snapchat Terms of Service Excerpt: However, by submitting User Content to Snapchat, you hereby grant us an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, promote, exhibit, and display such User Content in any and all media or distribution methods, now known or later developed…

Vine Terms of ServiceExcerpt:  By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

Kik Terms of Service Excerpt: By uploading, distributing, transmitting or otherwise using your User Content with the Sites or the Products, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to Kik Group an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free and fully paid, worldwide license, with the right to grant sublicenses, to reproduce, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, telecommunicate to the public, prepare adaptations and derivative works of, incorporate into other works, and otherwise use…

You can look at almost any app’s terms of service document by Googling the name of the app and the words “terms of service.”

Shouldn’t we all develop better habits when it comes to reading, at least the important parts, of social media terms of service?

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