Instagram ignites users to read others’ Policies and Terms; scary stuff everywhere

Instagram has found themselves in hot water over changes that were made to the company’s Privacy Policy this week. According to the update, Instagram now has the legal option to sell any photo shared via the service. As one might expect, this was met with fierce criticism from the community, with many users swearing to leave the service forever. This also sparked a renewed interest in the reading and understanding the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies with all web services and applications, leading to shocking discoveries everywhere.

Our first tip came from a Farmville user. Deep in the Farmville Terms of Use was this little terrifying gem.

5.1.4  In the event of a situation that is deemed appropriate by Zynga or any entity or property of Zynga, the user may be asked to forfeit any number of U.S. dollars or personal assets to Zynga, determined by Zynga, and may not be contested by the user. The user will receive written notice via mail or electronic mail, and will be required to comply within thirty (30) days of the delivery of the written notice.

According to these terms, Zynga can simply take any amount of your personal money or assets for any reason they want. They can simply say “Hey, we want $10,000″ and you’d be legally required to send them a check within 30 days. Yikes!

Another tipster sent us this horrifying section in the Privacy Policy of the new MySpace.

44.2  If a user uploads an image or piece of content to MySpace that any executive, employee, member of the MySpace Board of Directors or Justin Timberlake disagrees with or believes in any way misrepresents the vision for MySpace, the user will be required to dismember their right index finger, then package and send said index finger to MySpace Headquarters via the United States Postal Service within five (5) business days.

How did this one slip by many thousands of users already? And who did they hire as their lawyer, the guy from Saw? It’s scary to think that there are savage terms like these buried within a policy that no one reads. What else have we agreed to without our knowledge?

Probably this. A tipster sent us this paragraph from Facebook’s Terms of Use.

551.22  Facebook does not, in no way, not own your entire identity. All content uploaded to and provided to Facebook, and content not uploaded to Facebook but can be discovered through other means, including but not limited to photos, videos, messages, phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, passports and credit card numbers, will not not be property of Facebook. Facebook vows to never not have the ability to do anything and everything deemed necessary with this data and content, for any reason at any time.

If you can navigate the double negatives, I’m pretty sure Facebook said that they can and will own all of your identity and will do anything they want with it at any time. That’s frightening.

I think it’s safe to say that we should all just stop clicking “I Agree” to every Terms of Use and policy and start reading these things before we all become property of Internet services.

Comments

  1. Tim Sylvester says:

    Woah, eye opening stuff here guys, thanks for digging through terms, I think more people need to know about this!

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  1. [...] Instagram’s $1 billion buyout, and now their policy backlash, there’s a good chance we’ll see even more photo sharing apps in 2013. How many apps [...]

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