Instagram isn’t a public utility

Jordan Koschei for The Industry:

Social media is not a public utility. Using Instagram is not a right. When you begin using these services, you enter a legally binding contact with them, defined in the Terms of Service. Clicking “I agree” without reading that document is insanely irresponsible — you could be selling your soul without even realizing it. In the cases of Facebook and Instagram, you already have.

If you don’t read the terms of service before starting your legal relationship with a website, that’s fine. But you forfeit your ability to complain about the terms — the contract under whose authority you’ve voluntarily placed yourself — without sounding completely foolish.

Civic education is in a sorry state, not only in the United States but in democratic societies around the world. The fact that anyone thinks they can copy-and-paste a paragraph of legalese to their Facebook status and thus alter their legal standing on Facebook indicates we have a lot of work to do.

My friend and Angry Mac Bastards podcasting cohost John C. Welch boils it down to this:

When using a service, ask yourself two questions:

1) How am I paying for this

2) What’s the product

If the answer to 1 is “nothing”, then the answer to 2 tends to be “you”.

(Hat tip to Jared Erondu for the link.)